This unique service, Book-Lender, is the culmination of over 18 months of work and is the output from a Brand Discovery we carried out for Carillion aimed at identifying and validating opportunities within the libraries sector. In these austere times, with budgets for public services being slashed against the backdrop research linking educational attainment to the use of physical books, one opportunity stood out above all others – the provision of books into schools.
Alan Bennett, the Leeds-born playwright and author, once said that ‘a book is a device to ignite the imagination’, while Einstein argued that ‘imagination is the true sign of intelligence’. So in books, we have the key to intelligence. But, over the last 20 years, physical books have disappeared from the classroom faster than ever. With budgets stretched and teachers’ time being squeezed, alongside shrinking space in our schools for libraries, compromises are being made and the education of our children is suffering.
Our research highlighted that schools were struggling to access the right books due to budget and time pressures. We also uncovered an existing school library provision that was as disparate and as dusty as the volumes that sat on its shelves. Teachers were faced with having to source books in their spare time, on a limited budget and with little to no guidance on the most appropriate books for the curriculum, often driving for miles to pick up outdated, tatty books. An alternative was desperately needed.
Working alongside Carillion, Propaganda developed the ‘Book-Lender’ brand – an online library, stocked with a huge selection of fiction and non-fiction books, all linked to the National Curriculum and offered as a unique rental model, at a price schools can afford.
Conceived with convenience in mind, the service offers top quality physical books, curated by library professionals, that can be ordered in seconds and delivered direct to the classroom. Once schools have finished with the books, they simply return them free of charge and await their next delivery, safe in the knowledge that their pupils have benefitted from outstanding books and an uncompromised education. The proposition is simple: Rent. Read. Return.
Carillion unveiled Book-Lender at the Bett Show, the largest and most respected education technology exhibition in the UK. Registration for Primary Schools is now open for the 2017/18 academic year, with the first Book-Lender deliveries due in September. The service will launch for Secondary Schools in 2018. We can’t wait to hear the feedback from the education community and to continue to work with Carillion on this truly transformative service.