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Read all about it: Balderstone Library chosen for national scheme

24 September 2021

Michelle Krauza and Joanne Eaves, with councillors Phil Massey and Sue Smith and residents Maya and Mike Laing.

A Rochdale borough library has been chosen by the UK's largest reading charity to pilot a new reading scheme aimed at young families.

Balderstone is one of 10 libraries in England that will work with BookTrust to test new ways of inspiring shared early years story experiences.

Starting in October 2021, the pilot will encourage young families to visit their local library, offering them a shared reading experience, to help bring the magic of reading to life. It also aligns with libraries' aspirations to reconnect with their local communities and kick-start visits, as part of the ongoing recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

And BookTrust Storytime, developed in partnership with libraries, councils and families, will also be launched this autumn at a number of library branches in the borough.

The Arts Council England-funded project will encourage families to engage with their local library, helping children to develop an ongoing reading habit.

Councillor Sue Smith, the council's cabinet member for libraries, said: "This is a brilliant project for the local community and will really engage and inspire even more children to develop a love of books and a passion for learning. Shared reading is really important for children in their early years, supporting wellbeing, bonding and early childhood development. Youngsters need to be inspired to read and I am sure the Balderstone branch will be packed out this autumn with young families engaging with this pioneering project."

Local resident Mike Laing, who regularly visits the library with his 4-year old daughter Maya, said: "We love our local library branch which has some wonderful services for youngsters. Anything that encourages even more children to enjoy the joys of reading and learning, bringing on a new generation of bookworms, has to be a good thing. I can guarantee we will be attending the sessions in the autumn and I am sure this pilot scheme will really take off."

Ward Councillor Phil Massey said: "It is wonderful that Balderstone has been chosen for this superb scheme, which will inspire even more youngsters to visit their local library and develop a passion for reading. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's vital we engage with families who may never have visited a library before. We want to inspire young children to develop a reading habit from an early age and, working with the BookTrust, I am looking forward to an exciting new chapter for our library service."

Full details of the scheme, which begins in October 2021, will be promoted to schools and early year settings across the Balderstone and Kirkholt community.