Thursday, 20 March 2014

Every Child a Member

School Children in Wales encouraged to use their local library with automatic membership.

Staff at Tredegar Library yesterday giving a warm welcome to local children

Yesterday (19th March 2014)  saw the launch of a new initiative from the Welsh Government to support childhood literacy. The Minister for Culture and Sport John Griffiths AM, speaking with school children at Tredegar Library explained how Welsh libraries and primary schools are joining forces to provide every primary school child with a free library card - starting with children aged 8/9 in six local authorities - Blaenau Gwent, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Merthyr Tydfil, Powys and Swansea.

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.”

Patron of the scheme, Dr Rhys Jones, star of BBC Series ‘Rhys to the Rescue’ and ‘Dr Rhys Jones’s Wildlife Patrol’ also spoke to children from Bryn Bach Primary School about the importance of libraries in developing imagination and future life skills. Dr Jones delighted the audience with tales of his animal adventures.

The library card will allow the children to borrow books straight away and get a free goodie bag to carry their books home with them. Once proof of address is provided, they can then have access to thousands of free books as well as many more resources to help improve their school work and enhance their leisure time, including:

  • FREE fiction, non-fiction, comics, graphic novels and talking books
  • FREE homework help - online and in the library
  • FREE e-books and e-magazines
  • FREE computer use and internet access
  • Clubs, games, events, activities and classes in the library
  • Friendly, helpful library staff
  • Somewhere safe to meet friends

The project is led by CyMAL (Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales) and the Welsh Libraries Audience Development team and compliments the Welsh Government’s 'Make Time to Read' campaign, just 10 minutes reading a day can make a big difference and reading outside of school can help raise literacy levels and lead to higher achievement in school.

For more information about Every Child a Member, please visit:

You can view a video of the launch day here:

Mandy Powell,
CILIP Policy Officer, Wales

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