Teachers and Librarians

2013-14 Campaign: The Importance of School Libraries

“Reading is almost an extension to dreaming. Books are the essential access to knowledge and understanding. Every school has to have its own library, literacy then is not simply a taught subject, it is a joy.” 

Michael Morpurgo, BBC Radio 4, Sept 2013

Our 2013-14 campaign was announced at the SLA (School Library Assocation) celebration day at the start of Children’s Book Week in October. We are looking for 3 schools where a small injection of cash, expertise and contacts could make a big difference. 

The Trust knows that many school library services have faced huge cuts in recent years, that few Primary schools have professional librarians, and secondary school librarians are always on a tight budget.

The winning  school would get a  cash prize of £6,000, plus there are two runners-up prizes of £3,000 each. We know this is not enough to start a library from scratch, but it could give a welcome boost to a school library that lacks cash but not enthusiasm. We are keen to hear from students as well as staff, and welcome applications from all state-funded schools – perhaps you are a secondary librarian with a tiny budget for new stock, or a primary teacher or parent  who feels your school could do with a shot of professional expertise about how to get your school library used as a real centre for Reading for Pleasure in the school community. 

As always, the Trust will be compiling good ideas for others to use. We will also be able to help in sourcing book stock and using Trust contacts with other organisations to hopefully (ideally!) make the funding go even further.

We hope the application process is simple. Please just email director@siobhandowdtrust.com with a short impression of why this funding could make the difference to your school – we are looking for evidence of need, as well as evidence of your enthusiasm and capacity to carry out the planned changes to your library. Your FSM percentage is helpful to know as a quick indication of the social background of your school – though we are aware this is only one indication of need. 

The deadline for entries is May 1st 2014.

The shortlisted schools will be judged by a panel including Tony Bradman (Childrens’ Author and Chairman of the Siobhan Dowd Trust) and Kevin Crossley-Holland (Childrens’ Author and the President of the School Library Association) and the winners announced at the SLA Manchester Weekend Conference on June 20th/21st 2014.


From January to July 2012 we are running a special project for schools…



Michael Rosen, Poet, Performer ex-Childrens’ Laureate, and Reading enthusiast-extradinaire has agreed to be a judge in our new campaign to build a data-base of good ideas for all teachers to contribute to, use, build upon and be inspired by…

Click here for Michael’s 20 tips for building a book loving school, but we’d like to know about any of your initiatives which have encouraged reading and books within your school. All we need is a very brief email (see form below) and you could be one of 10 winning schools. The winning initiatives will be picked by a panel of Education and Childrens’ Books experts.

The winning schools will receive books suitable for your pupil’s age group selected by Julia Eccleshare (Author of 1001 Children’s Books: You Must Read Before You Grow Up) and Daniel Hahn (who has edited the Ultimate Book Guides for Children and Young Adults and is currently compiling the new Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature). The competition will end on August 1st 2012, and the books will be sent out furing the Autumn term. 

Please fill out the form to enter


Name of School (required)

Your Name (required)

Contact Number (required)

Your Email (required)

Percentage of pupils on free school meals *

What we do that’s special and how it’s made a difference (no more than 250 words please):

*Sorry, but fee-paying schools are not eligible for a prize, though we would still welcome good ideas for encouraging reading… We’ve asked about the percentage of pupils on free school meals, a rough guide we know and while schools in more prosperous areas are eligible for entry if their initiative is very strong, we do exist to favour readers from a disadvantaged background.

Closing date: August 1st

Returned forms and further information: director@siobhandowdtrust.com

Database for teachers

Some ideas we’ve already heard about (but we’d like to hear more to be used and inspire elsewhere…please get in touch)