Youngsters taking part in this year's summer reading challenge will be among the first to get their hands on specially created souvenir Dippy bookmarks, as the borough gears up to welcome the Natural History Museum's famous dinosaur cast in 2020.
The bookmarks, which feature the distinctive Dippy branding, have been commissioned by the council's library service to celebrate Dippy On Tour, which has seen the Natural History Museum's famous Diplodocus cast leave the museum for the first time to go on a tour of the UK.
Rochdale is one of just 8 venues across the UK which will host Dippy during his tour
Rochdale is one of only 8 venues across the UK to host Dippy and it is his only North West stop. He will be resident in Number One Riverside from Monday, 10 February to Sunday, 28 June 2020. A family friendly, natural history themed interactive exhibition will also take place at Dippy's partner venue, Touchstones Rochdale.
Dippy on Tour has been brought about by the Natural History Museum, in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation and supported by Dell EMC and Williams & Hill, working with partners across the UK to tour one of its most iconic exhibits over 3 years.
The summer reading challenge takes place every year across the country during the long summer break. Children are encouraged to read 6 books over the holidays and they are awarded a special certificate at the end. This year's theme is the Space Chase and recommended books include Letter to Pluto, A Moon Girl Stole My Friend, and Bright Sparks: Amazing Discoveries, Inventions and Designs by Women.
Children taking part in the summer reading challenge will be among the first to get hold of the special Dippy bookmark
Over 580 children across Rochdale have already signed up for the Summer Reading Challenge, using one of the borough's 17 libraries to discover new books. Although the Space Chase is this year's official theme, children can choose any 6 books that take their fancy.
And this year, as well as their special certificate, they will also all receive a special souvenir Dippy bookmark.
Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture, said: "With Dippy coming to the borough next year, we're having lots of fun with the dinosaur theme and children who take up our summer reading challenge this year will be among the first to get their hands on this specially created bookmark, which is a lovely souvenir to mark a very special moment for Rochdale.
"Dippy on Tour aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and get children excited about the world around them. Our libraries have a crucial role to play in this because they give them access to so much knowledge. There's still plenty of time for children to get involved, so I would encourage parents to pop down to one of our libraries today to find out more about the summer reading challenge"
Grace Langan, aged 8, from Archer Park in Middleton, said: "I'm really looking forward to Dippy the dinosaur coming to Rochdale. Dippy is about teaching people about the environment and natural world and that's really important. We have bees in our garden because we made a little home for them and we try to avoid buying non-recyclable plastics as much as we can."