Showing posts with label Every Child A Member. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Every Child A Member. Show all posts

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Every Child A Member - Damian Harvey

With so many libraries around Great Britain closing many people are looking for ways to increase library usage and to prove that libraries are as important and valued as we know them to be - rather than the soft target for cutbacks that the government seem to see them as. The recent trend of opening large, modern, inner city libraries such as the ones in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Cardiff is all very nice but not when it is at the expense of the smaller branch libraries which are extremely valuable. As a child my Mum took me to our local library every week to borrow new books - not something that would have been as easy to do had we had to travel further afield to visit the main library, and it's the same with children now. It can be hard enough getting children into libraries, however, here in Wales a new initiative was launched earlier this year to try and encourage all children to use their local library.
Welsh Libraries and Primary Schools have joined together to support children's reading and literacy by making Every Child A Member of the library, something that I can't help should have already been going on.

In a Welsh Government press release the Minister said: "The link between library usage and literacy levels is well documented - over 42,000 children in Wales took part in last year’s Summer Reading Challenge which ran in 245 libraries across the country.
"Those children that took part maintained or improved their reading levels and we are hoping to build on this by giving every child the opportunity to use their library to borrow books and access all the other services available to them.”

Initially, this opt out scheme is being trialled by the Gwent, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Merthyr Tydfil, Powys and Swansea authorities but is planes for rollout across the country in the near future.

I was delighted to be asked to take part in the launch of the Every Child A Member initiative by visiting local libraries and meeting year four children from local schools, many bussed in from outlying areas. All the children received their new library cards and were then let loose to choose books to take home and read - as well as receiving a goody bag. As well as being able to talk about my own books it was great being able to read from and suggest books by other authors that they might like to read - John Dougherty's Stinkbomb and Ketch-up Face went down a treat.
Although many children were already members and keen users of the libraries they visited, there were many more that weren't. Some had never been to the library before. Will parents keep coming back to the library with their children? This has yet to be seen, but I can't help feeling that this is a late, but welcome start to getting children into the libraries. Without creating this link between children and libraries what hope is there for the future.

Damian Harvey