Without a decent supply of books, the issue is not only that children struggle to learn to read. They are also denied the opportunity to explore the world through books, to find the stories, information and knowledge that could change their lives. That's why it's so important that we provide reading books for these schools...
It's 15 years since the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were agreed which sought to 'spare no effort' in eradicating global poverty and inequality. Over this last weekend, leaders once again come together to assess the progress made by the MDGs and to redefine their focus for the next 15 years of the fight against poverty.
Libraries are so much more than books. They are still relevant, they are still vital. They will help the next generation of readers and writers to find their feet, the next generation of young and skint parents to give their kids a love of reading that costs nothing, the next generation of job seekers a route to apply for employment if they don't have online access of their own.
You'd think a book would be the least dangerous thing you could send to your friend who's just begun their summer holiday. Nothing could be much safer, it might seem, than relaxing on a deckchair, in a peaceful garden or hotel poolside terrace, with a book and a cool drink. But this is Northern Ireland, and when we send parcels, we have to risk assess.
With renovation and entrepreneurial enthusiasm happening across the city and spring boarding, for me, from the re-opening of the Bullring Centre back in 2003 - the year I moved to this great city - the best is still to come. The smell of success is starting to fill the noses of the citizens of Birmingham and they are beginning to realize the potential of this place. Watch out world, here come the Brummies!
As we venture further into the British Library Qatar Foundation partnership programme, we are encountering more materials that have direct relevance to the modern day. These images show just how the ties with past and present are becoming increasingly strong through our partnership, as more content emerges from the British Library's basement.
One day, books will be like antiques. A standard paperback will cost hundreds of pounds depending on the year and edition. War and Peace will be out of print. And I will be an old lady with only dreams of ghosts of cats, telling the illiterate kids on the block how these same streets were once paved in books, each one costing less than a halfpenny.
Breaking the stranglehold which the handful of large corporate publishers currently have over academics and university libraries is not only important because of the public money at stake, but also because genuine open access allows research to be utilised by those outside the close confines of academia.
These rebranded community 'hubs' are teeming with activity that is hardly conducive to book-related endeavours at all. Between the parents with their gaggles of noisy kids, support groups and 'stalls' of all things, not to mention the so-called students getting on my bloody nerves chatting on their mobiles - God I sound old - libraries just aren't libraries any more.