Vending machines are being enthusiastically installed in hundreds of schools — not to sell crisps or chocolate but to dispense books as a reward for good behaviour.
Pupils earn tokens for working hard which they can use to acquire a book from the machines. Teachers say they have created a buzz and excitement around reading and it gives some children the first book they have ever owned.
Authors and experts are campaigning to stop the decline in school libraries, which has been exacerbated by a lack of space and squeezed budgets leading to cuts of non-teaching staff such as librarians.
Cressida Cowell, the author and former children’s laureate, says inequality in school library access is a social mobility “time bomb”. Another author, Anthony Horowitz, has been appointed ambassador for the Great School Libraries campaign, which he described as a “blindingly obvious proposition, a bit like asking schools to have teachers or fresh air in the classrooms”.
However, one in seven primary schools in the UK has no library while one in 11 children grow up without any books at home, according to a recent report by the National Literacy Trust.TIOB News