Drop in younger children visiting libraries is worrying, says children’s laureate

The Guardian is reporting that the children’s laureate Chris Riddell has said a drop in the number of younger children visiting libraries is of great concern.

Chris Riddell's illustrated message on libraries

Chris Riddell’s illustrated message on libraries

The findings, part of a Department for Culture, Media and Sport report into children’s activities, reveal a 26% decline in the number of five to 10-year-olds who had used a library in the past seven days.

In 2010, 18.7% children aged five to 10 had done so, compared to 13.8% in 2014.

Within that age group, the number who had made a trip to their library at some point over the past 12 months had decreased from 76.4% in 2010 to 67.7% in 2014.

Riddell, an author and illustrator, said: “A drop in younger children visiting libraries is of great concern. As children’s laureate, I am passionate about the role of libraries, both in schools and in the wider community. They are unique places where children can begin their journey as readers, as well as being creative hubs…

There was a smaller drop in the number of five- to 15-year-olds who had used a library in the past week, down 6%, and a 7% decrease in those who had done so at least once in the year.

But the number of 11- to 15-year-olds who had visited a library in the past week had gone up 15%. This is despite a 1% fall in the numbers who had visited in the past year…

But Diana Gerald, chief executive of reading charity Book Trust, said the figures were “amazing”.

She said: “Over recent years children’s use of libraries has been consistently high, and even with all the other modern attractions libraries are still visited by 70% of under-15s – that’s quite amazing…

More at: Drop in younger children visiting libraries is worrying, says Chris Riddell


I can’t actually find these figures on the DCMS website but do you share Chris Riddell’s concerns about the impact of a drop in the number of children visiting libraries?

Are you aware of a library that is bucking the trend? If so, what are they doing that others might be able to copy? 


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Categories: Parenting and Research.


  1. writeandraise

    The concerns raised by Chris Riddell has been noted in many schools. Factors giving rise to this are complex but accelerated with increased use of technology in schools. Virtually or assignments submitted in the final two years of secondary schools are printed documents. Internet naturally being the chosen companion for research by most pupils and programs that read long comprehensions for them, it isn’t difficult to see a future without books as we know it. Pity!

  2. MayflowerSch

    SchoolsImprove PieCorbett excellent idea getting Chis involved – we have all classes visiting our idea store regularly

  3. EduTurn

    SchoolsImprove I’m not surprised considering how mani libraries have closed in rural/semi rural areas. Mobile libraries also rare sight now

  4. BasementArtsPro

    SchoolsImprove MichaelRosenYes people have a very narrow view of what libraries represent in our society.

  5. judeenright

    SchoolsImprove My 9yo insisted we started her summer hols at the Library, we both chose books. All thanks to her excellent school.

  6. LibrarySH

    SchoolsImprove MichaelRosen LibrarySH holds many events and would love to hold an illustrators event with Chris as star guest!

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