Bridgend Library and Information Service has teamed up with local primary schools to inspire children to use their local library and provide every child aged eight and nine with a free library card.
The ‘Every Child a Library Member’ project started in March this year with six local authorities piloting the initiative and, thanks to Welsh Government funding from the Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism, a further 25,000 children will now benefit as the scheme is being introduced in ten more local authorities, including Bridgend County Borough Council.
On Friday 7th November, year four pupils from local primary schools attended events at the libraries in Maesteg and Bridgend to launch the new initiative and enjoy fun group activities promoting the importance of the library and the opportunities available there.
Champion of this new initiative, Dr Rhys Jones – best known for his hit BBC series including ‘Rhys to the Rescue’ and ‘Dr Rhys Jones’s Wildlife Patrol’ – was on hand to talk to the children about his adventures and lead them through a creative session.
Dr Rhys Jones said: “Libraries are such an important resource for children – they are a great place for them to let their imagination grow and to develop and it is vitally important that we encourage our children to read more not only to improve their literacy levels but also to help them with life skills and future opportunities.”
Following the launch of the initiative in Bridgend County Borough, further events will follow in libraries, schools and sports halls to allow all year four children to receive a goodie bag and free library card, allowing them to explore the benefits of their local library for themselves.
Once proof of address is provided, they can then have access to thousands of free books, use the computers as well as many more resources to help improve their school work and enhance their leisure time.
The project supports the Welsh Government “Education Begins at Home” campaign, which encourages parents to help their child at home by making time to read, which can be beneficial to their performance in school and life in general.
Councillor Lyn Morgan, Bridgend County Borough Council Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said: “Libraries provide an invaluable environment for a child’s development. Getting children into the library and enabling them to use the wealth of resources available to them is wonderful.
“Whether it’s the opportunity to explore the bookshelves for their favourite stories, using the modern digital facilities for a homework project or joining a reading group, there’s plenty to motivate a child’s mind.”