This is a little complicated, but basically, a while back, Julian Barnes won an award, which meant he got to give an award to the Reading Agency, who do great work across the country promoting and supporting literacy. (Link is a pdf).
On passing on the award, Julian asked: ‘There will always be young writers; will there always be young readers?’
I certainly hope so, and it’s one of the key drivers of work here at the library. Literacy is so important for people of all ages, but starting early and keeping at it is vital for the development of the adults of the future.
I realise that may sound a bit corny, but it’s so important.
The library service works really hard to provide books, activities and interest to children and young people. We have Homework clubs for children to get support after school. We have the ‘We Love’ sessions, geared towards providing educational support and activities for teenagers. In Jubilee we’ve got a Wii wall, to tempt in those who might not think the library has much of interest to them, and computers specially available for young people.
It’s important for young people to know that they are welcome in our libraries, so that they have somewhere to go that is focussed on reading, learning and education without the same strictures as school.
Libraries make an excellent ‘third place’. A place that belongs to someone in away that school and home can’t provide. That’s before you even consider the horizons that can be broadened by a good book.
Reading can make a difference. Libraries can make a difference.
Congratulations to Julian, and congratulations to the Reading Agency. I hope both continue to do excellent work for a long time to come.
Alex – Library Officer.
For more information and upcoming events check the library website at www.citylibraries.info.