1137. Liberty Venn
Liberty Venn, from West London, is the founder of the ‘London Children’s Book Project’, an organisation which distributes ‘gently’ used books to children across London, inspiring them to own books and to read for pleasure.
Working as a researcher with literacy-oriented charities and with children’s publishers, Liberty became aware of the positive role that early access to books plays in children’s development and in their outcomes. With 4 in 10 disadvantaged London children owning fewer than 10 books, Liberty’s project collects books from families who have outgrown theirs and redistributes them to schools across the capital to give to their pupils. Crucially these books are gifts, rather than loaned from the library, and this promotes a culture of favourite stories and reading at home. Liberty also organises fun pop up libraries and reading events in schools. The project also donates boxes of books to doctors surgeries, schools and prisons.
Liberty’s award coincides with World Book Day.
In a personal letter to Liberty, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“By setting up the ‘London Children’s Book Project’ you are giving children the gift of owning books and helping them to discover a love of learning. Your innovative approach to distributing the stories you collect is helping thousands of children across the capital and you should feel incredibly proud of the difference you are making to these children’s lives.”
“I’m so honoured to receive this award and in particular on World Book Day! This project began five years ago at Barlby Primary School in North Kensington and it was the response of teaching staff there and of local donor families that helped us to realise its potential. Book buying families instinctively want to share the book-pleasure their own children have had and there is an extraordinary opportunity here to find new homes for the huge volumes of gently used books across the Capital. Our ambition is to find a new home for every one of these and to help address the book gap that exists across the UK. We hope this award will help raise awareness of the disparity of book ownership amongst young people and the potential to engage every child as a reader. A heartfelt thank you for this recognition of our work and of all the multiple friends, family and volunteers that will help us to gift at least 50,000 books this year!”
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