Save the Children: 500 school libraries disappeared in Romania since 2019
In the past two years, the number of school libraries has consistently decreased, from 6,545 in 2019 to 6,050 in 2022, while the number of children who borrowed at least one school book has also decreased by over 450,000, according to a new report by Save the Children Romania and Libris.
The two organizations continue their project of equipping schools in the country with a comprehensive book fund, which gives all children access to reading and knowledge.
According to statistics from the Association of Romanian Publishers (AER), Romania ranks last in the European Union in terms of book consumption, with publishers registering a turnover of around EUR 60 million, while Germany, for example, is the largest book market in Europe, with annual sales of around EUR 9 billion.
"Reading is essential during the formative years because it is a tool through which children learn naturally. They begin to understand the world broadly, they understand human nature, and emotions, through stories. This contributes decisively to the formation of social empathy. Unequal access to books and libraries is a factor of discrimination in Romania," said Gabriela Alexandrescu, Executive President of Save the Children Romania in the press release.
"We believe that any investment in culture should be connected to education, and that is why a portion of our profit is allocated to the CarteTeca project. Books are one of the most important connections children have with education, they open the way to knowledge, and we know that throughout the country there are many educators, and not only, who inspire and bring children closer to reading. They deserve recognition for their efforts, as well as active support by providing the necessary means to support education with the help of books," said Laura Țeposu, CEO of Libris.
In just two weeks, 460 institutions from every county in Romania signed up for the fourth edition of CarteTeca, a national competition launched by Libris and supported by Save the Children, in which educational institutions from across the country win books for their own libraries. The book fund allocated for this edition was worth RON 280,000 and was intended to equip 53 school libraries.
The number of students enrolled in the beneficiary educational unit, the present book fund of the library, and the frequency and volume of book borrowing were taken into account in the evaluation of applications. The list of the 45 winners selected by the jury is available here, and the list of winners selected by public vote here.
The books donated by Libris to the winning school libraries are new, current, and attractive, with famous and interesting titles, and stories with which children and teenagers empathize and want to discover beyond the readings in the school curriculum.
One of the 8 winning schools in the Public Vote category is Federico García Lorca Gymnasium School, in district 3 of the capital. The 1,053 students aged between 6-16 are the winners, having access to the books that have supplemented the school library's book fund (volumes worth RON 10,000 ).
In total, the 4 editions of the CarteTeca project amount to RON 658,000, a sum used for the benefit of 202 educational units and over 100,000 students from across the country. Over 14,700 books have been donated in the first three editions.
(Photo source: Save the Children Romania)