Bookstart – never too young to enjoy books
No one is ever too young to be introduced to a book!
Librarians are passionate about the value of reading and enjoying stories. They know that from a very early age exposure to rhyme, rhythm, stories and pictures is not only fun for children, but can support the development of early language skills and vocabulary. Libraries in the borough run regular children’s rhyme times and story times, and babies can register from birth for a library card.
Working with BookTrust
Libraries work in partnership with the UK reading charity BookTrust, because they both share an understanding of how valuable it is to introduce children early to a love of books and reading. This partnership helps to deliver Bookstart, which is BookTrust’s early years programme, designed to inspire parents and carers to enjoy reading with their children by providing free book packs for babies and small children.
How to get your Bookstart pack
Every child in England and Wales is entitled to a free Bookstart baby pack containing board books at the age of 0-12 months and a Bookstart Treasure pack containing a story book at 3-4 years old. To reach these families BookTrust works in partnership with libraries, health professionals and early years practitioners. In Richmond upon Thames the Bookstart co-ordinator is a librarian who arranges regular deliveries of Bookstart baby packs to health professionals to give out at baby clinics, and Treasure packs to nurseries and other Early Years providers to give to families of 3 year olds to share at home.
Celebrating 25 years!
Since Richmond joined the Bookstart programme in 1999 an astonishing 37,000 babies under a year old in the borough have received a free Bookstart baby pack and 29,000 three year olds have received a Bookstart Treasure pack.
Richmond Libraries celebrated 25 years of Bookstart on 8 December 2017 at Twickenham Library when Cllr David Linnette, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and the Voluntary Sector for Richmond upon Thames, came along to a Tiny Teddies rhyme and story session and read a story and a nursery rhyme. There was also an appearance of the big blue Bookstart Bear!
Each June, libraries and Children’s Centres celebrate National Bookstart Week. In 2017 the theme was ‘Let’s explore outdoors’ and at their regular story times libraries gave away free miniature versions of the book ‘Everybunny Dance’ by Ellie Sandall and activity sheets for making bunny ears.
The theme for 2018 and the free book to be given away is still a closely guarded secret!
And it gets better…
Recently Bookstart started to offer an extra new reading incentive via libraries. Bear’s Reading Adventure is a story sticker book from Bookstart which any child under five can receive from a library, designed to start children in the habit of regular visits to the library. Each time your child comes to the library to borrow books they can ask at the library information desk for the next sticker to go in their book. There are ten stickers to collect and the last sticker is a shiny gold star!