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Cardiff schoolchildren benefit from transformed libraries

Oakfield Primary Library

Over 2,500 children at 11 primary schools in Cardiff have benefitted from improved libraries as part of the Chase school libraries programme, which aims to help children and young people unlock their future potential by improving access to school libraries in under resourced communities throughout the U.K.

The programme – in partnership with the National Literacy Trust (NLT) and supported by Penguin Books who donated 400 new books – is now in its third year in Wales. To date, it has transformed a total of 46 school libraries and reading spaces across Newport and Cardiff, to spark a love of reading in children. The commitment comes as recent research from Chase revealed that six in ten (62%) Welsh adults believe that having access to libraries growing up significantly contributed to their career success, highlighting the importance of providing children with reading spaces and literature to help shape their futures.*

As part of this year’s programme, Oakfield Primary School has had a complete transformation of its library, while a further 10 primary schools have received enhanced reading zones including soft furnishings, new bookcases, and an audio book device with a selection of audio books.

To mark the opening of their new library, children at Oakfield Primary School were joined by best-selling Welsh writer and illustrator Jonny Duddle and Children’s Laureate Wales (2021-2023) Connor Allen, who are well-known for their work including The Pirates Next Door and The Making Of A Monster, for a celebratory event.

Sian Hoskins, Assistant Headteacher, Oakfield Primary School: “Our new library will make a huge difference in enhancing the school’s current provision and the pupils are absolutely delighted with the addition, so we’re very grateful to Chase and the National Literacy Trust for making it happen. It was a pleasure to host the grand opening event and to welcome authors Jonny Duddle and Connor Allen, to inspire our pupils to love reading and make the most of their new reading space.

Connor Allen, Children’s Laureate Wales said: “Reading for pleasure at primary school was always a huge part of my every day.  Escaping to different worlds and adventuring with many different characters was just a joy. It gave me a sense of belonging at a time when I needed it the most and that sense of belonging is what I try to give back in my writing. Not everyone is blessed enough to have a wide variety of books at home, so this library is an excellent statement to encourage and nurture the next generation of brilliant minds to borrow and read these books; to get lost in the pages and stories and have the fun and joy that comes with reading.”

Deborah Keay, U.K. CMO at Chase, said: “We know that reading has a transformative power which provides children with essential life skills, unlocking their potential for their future careers. So we’re thrilled to mark the third year of our Chase school libraries programme in Wales, working alongside the National Literacy Trust to provide new and enhanced reading spaces to an additional 11 primary schools in Cardiff this year.”

Cathy Geary, Project Manager, School Programmes – South East Wales, Reading for Enjoyment, National Literacy Trust: “It has been brilliant working with Chase to create really special library and reading areas for Oakfield Primary School and the other Cardiff schools. We know they will bring the children inspiration and enrichment for many years to come.”

Chase’s partnership with the National Literacy Trust to continue for a third year

Since launching its school libraries programme, Chase has improved or entirely transformed 312 libraries, impacting over 107,000 pupils. Building on a successful first two years, in 2024, Chase has expanded the programme to four new areas (Belfast, Glasgow, Greenwich (London), and Liverpool), while also providing additional support to three existing regions (Edinburgh, Manchester, and Cardiff) with the resources they need to inspire a love of reading. This year’s programme includes:

  • A total of 100 new and enhanced reading spaces, inclusive of 6 brand new libraries and 94 enhanced reading spaces in primary schools across the U.K. This will equip a further 32,082 children in under-resourced areas with new or enhanced library spaces designed to improve their reading environment
  • Access to 40,000 new and diverse books donated by Penguin Books to inspire a love of reading
  • Equipping 193 primary school teachers with bespoke face-to-face training to support them with implementing a reading for pleasure strategy and creating powerful reading role models in the school community