Children flocking to libraries for the love of books
LIBRARIES are back on the list of cool places to be, with thousands of Aussie children signing up as members every week.
About three- quarters of children aged 6- 12 and almost half of those under five are card- carrying members of their local public library, according to new data from the Great Australian Reading Survey.
The News Corp Australia national survey also found more than twothirds of parents with children across all age groups visit public libraries.
Executive director of regional access and public libraries in Queensland Louise Denoon said innovative and creative programs had helped membership numbers soar.
“There’s been an enormous growth in outreach programs,” she said.
“Librarians now go to football games, community centres, medical clinics, parks and even prisons taking books out into the community and they get a great response.”
It’s not all about books however, with many libraries increasingly focusing on teaching computer coding and robotics.
“Everyone needs to learn how to read, but now they also need to learn coding and those digital literacy skills,” Ms Denoon said.
She said there was no age limit for a library card, with some parents signing up their newborn babies.
Mum Annika Smith said her oneyear- old son Theo already “loves books” and visiting the library.
“His whole face lights up when a book comes out … and the beauty of a library is they have such a wide selection for him to choose from,” she said.
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute Professor Sharon Goldfeld said any exposure to reading helped child develop language skills.
“If you’re reading to your child, even if you’re just looking at the pictures and having a discussion with them about the story you’re helping their vocabulary,” she said, adding that innovative library programs that helped reinforce a love of reading were beneficial to children of all ages. Readers can collect a free copy of Possum Magic and a collector’s case with our Great Australian Storybook collection, starting this Sunday. Details: greataussie stories. com. au a