School of Social and Political Science

Research project type

Impact Evaluation of Scottish Book Trust’s Bookbug Programme



Bookbug is the Scottish Book Trust’s Early Years programme, encouraging parents and children to share stories, songs and rhymes from birth.

The Scottish Book Trust’s Early Years programme has gifted free bags of books and resources to children in Scotland for many years, and there are Bookbug Sessions taking place every day in Scotland’s libraries, nurseries, and early years centres.

Led by Dr Emma Davidson, the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships was commissioned to conduct an evaluation of the Bookbug programme to examine how, and to what extent, Bookbug impacts on the lives of families in Scotland, and on the knowledge, attitudes and practices of early-years professionals.

Evaluation findings

Overall, the evaluation found that the Bookbug programme is high quality, understandable, transferable into different local settings, and hugely respected by those involved. Families and professionals value the Bookbug programme and regard it as having positive impacts.  

The message and approach being delivered is clearly evidence-based and is being delivered in a clear, concise way, complementary to national and local policy objectives. The brand and mascot work are praised for being well respected, recognised and valued.

Bookbug is making an important contribution to positive engagement with families facing barriers to accessing services, with the majority of professionals stating that that the Bookbug programme allowed them to reach families that they otherwise would not.

Main challenges include ensuring quality and consistency across the programme, widening the benefits and coping with sectoral complexities and pressures on resources. The greatest issue is not therefore a question of whether the Bookbug programme can support Scotland’s families to read, talk, sing and cuddle more, but rather, that the context of diminishing resources impacts on delivery.


May 2015 – September 2017

Further information

Further information

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