Research into reading, the promotion of reading and literature education

Library influence

-> Children who regularly visit the library have a more positive attitude towards reading. Library averse children think that they lack the skill to choose books.

-> A library at school stimulates reading proficiency and pleasure in reading.

Public library

There is a positive correlation between one's attitude towards reading and visiting the library. The more pleasure children have in reading, the more often they will go to the library to borrow a book. On the other hand, school pupils who avoid the library often do not like reading very much (Stalpers, 2006; CHOICE, 2010).

In addition to the attitude towards reading, three further factors have an effect on visits to the library. These are one's attitude towards the library, the social norms of parents and friends, and the extent to which one thinks that one is able to make use of the library and find whatever one needs (knowledge and skills). These variables explain 50% of the differences in the frequency of visits by adult members of the library (Bos, 2009).

In the case of secondary school pupils, this figure is 42%. Attitudes and social norms, in particular, are decisive. Young people who attach a positive value to the library and are stimulated to visit the library by their parents and friends do so more often. Their knowledge and skills have an effect through their attitude; the more they trust that they will be able to find the books that they need and understand how the catalogue works, the more positive their attitude and the more regular their visits to the library will be (Stalpers, 2011).

Factors stimulating library visits

Regular visits to the library also has a positive correlation with reading performance. Children who themselves are member of the library or whose parents are members perform better at school in language and reading proficiency (Baeg, Choi, Lee & Lee, 2012).

School library

The presence of a library at school stimulates the reading proficiency of primary and secondary school pupils. The larger the budget, the larger the gains in reading proficiency will be. Sufficient financial resources ensure that the library can achieve an extensive, varied and up-to-date offering of books. It also helps to train librarians so that they have sufficient knowledge of the collection and are able to support teachers in organising reading activities (such as free reading and reading aloud). The reading proficiency of children from all layers of the population benefits from a school library, irrespective of family income, level of education or ethnicity (Lance, Rodney & Hamilton-Pennell, 2005).

In the Netherlands, a number of these principles have been worked out in the approach to the Library at School programme.

In addition to reading proficiency, a school library also stimulates pleasure in reading. The characteristics of their school, with the presence of a school library being the most important, accounts for 5% of the differences in the motivation to read of primary school children (Nielen, 2014).