Doorstep Library & The Gift of Reading

As the cost-of-living crisis ripples across Britain, the literacy chasm for children living in poverty deepens. With thousands of families facing the harrowing choice between keeping a warm home or putting dinner on the table this Christmas, reading for pleasure is one of the sources of magic facing extinguishment for children across the country. Doorstep Library is keen to change that story and keep the reading light on throughout the festive season and into the New Year. 

According to a new report cited by Doorstep Library, over fifty-percent of parents say books are too expensive. Another report from the National Literacy Trust found one in five children in England don’t even have any books of their own. Doorstep Library’s Gift of Reading Christmas campaign gives opportunity for words to keep flight in the imaginations of London’s children, with £10 helping the charity provide the weekly reading sessions which help make books a steady companion throughout childhood for those living in disadvantaged households.

The London-based literacy charity has 20 projects across five boroughs which aim to promote the pleasure of reading through weekly home reading visits. Volunteers are assigned to families, revisiting the same children — often on doorsteps, but also in sitting rooms or on video calls — giving chance for young readers to not only cultivate a consistent love for reading, but a sense of individuality as literature curiosities are nurtured and given space to transform young imaginations. Doorstep Library visits often become a much-beloved ritual for these families; the charity currently visits 600 children and 300 families with a team of over 130 volunteers. 

One of the pillar values for us as publishers is to encourage and educate our readers on the avenues on activism which one may dedicate time and an extra hand to. We aim to editorially support British charities in the areas dear to us, and literacy was one of the first avenues of giving explored as a publication. Readers may recognise Doorstep Library from the inaugural issue of The Modern Jetsetter, where we introduced the charity and its extraordinary work for London children in our first pages. We are delighted to continue following Doorstep Library’s journey in our next issue and in the years ahead, as the organisation, its trustees and volunteers continue to better the lives of young Londoners through the gift of story.

All photography is provided by Doorstep Library and taken by photographer Paul Yule

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