Scottish Book Trust calls for library card for every child

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Charity Scottish Book Trust wants children to automatically be enrolled at their local library to help ensure libraries' survival.

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Primary 1 pupils in Scotland are to receive free picture books as part of Book Week Scotland, photo by Colin Hattersley

Marc Lambert, director of the Scottish Book Trust, is urging nurseries and schools to introduce every child to their local library, and for local authorities to automatically grant them membership.

Mr Lambert believes that the move would help save libraries, which he says are at the 'heart of every community', at a time when many of them are under threat.

Launching the call for action at the start of Book Week Scotland 2014 (24-28 November), Mr Lambert said,If children learn early on to love their library, they will become library users for the rest of their lives.

‘At the same time, libraries must be enabled to advertise and communicate with their customers and potential customers better. In order to survive the local authority cuts that are coming and prosper in the 21st century, libraries need to reach out to their local communities in more evident and assertive ways.’

As part of Book Week Scotland, the national celebration of reading, children are invited to shout about how fantastic libraries are by writing a love letter to their local library, explaining how much they mean to them. Libraries will display the letters they have received.

The Scottish Book Trust is also giving away three free picture books to all Primary 1 pupils. The books, which are shortlisted for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards 2015, are Robot Rumpus by Sean Taylor and Ross Collins, Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten by Alison Murray, and Lost for Words by Natalie Russell.

A number of other free book related events are also taking place across Scotland during the week.

Amina Shah, chief executive of the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) said, ‘Book Week Scotland gives us an opportunity to demonstrate and celebrate the role that libraries play in relation to literacy, developing a love of books and reading and giving people opportunities to get together in the heart of their communities to share their love of reading. 

‘Libraries also play an important role in helping to improve opportunities for individuals and communities through free access to books, information and learning.  This week, I would urge people of all ages to show their love for libraries by going along to their local library and joining in this national celebration of books and reading.’

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