Barnet Council launches ‘library card for all’ scheme

As part of Barnet Council’s Library review we pledged to make every primary school child a member of the library. We have recently been awarded £2000 from the Arts Council to help us make this happen.

Below is the press release we recently sent out about it.

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Barnet is set to be among 22 local authorities testing automatic library membership for children and young people.

The initiative from Arts Council England aims to lead to an increase in children, young people and families using their local libraries, and stimulate more reading for pleasure. Ultimately it’s hoped that 100 per cent of children will become library card holders, one of the main strands of Barnet Council’s library strategy.

Barnet libraries will be working with the borough’s schools to increase library membership at the start of each child’s primary and secondary schooling, emphasising the benefits of library membership for effective learning.

The 22 library services are adopting a variety of approaches for the project which is being supported by the Department for Education (DfE) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It includes libraries working with:

* birth registration services to offer library cards at birth

nurseries, schools and school library services to promote library memberships to local children and families

· leisure services to offer combined library and leisure cards for children and young people

Councillor Robert Rams, Cabinet Member for Customer Access and Partnerships, said:

“Boosting adult and child literacy is one of the main planks of our library policy and this initiative will allow us to do this. Developing a love of reading from an early age is a fantastic way for children to boost their vocabulary, knowledge and curiosity of life.

“I hope this library card pilot will encourage a whole new generation of young readers to immerse themselves in the stories and adventures they may not have access to at home.”

Nicky Morgan, Director of Libraries, Arts Council England, said: “These projects will test out genuinely exciting, new ways of encouraging children, young people and families to join and access their local libraries.

“Through these projects, we hope that children and young people will be encouraged to use their libraries now and in the future, and will develop a real love for learning and a natural curiosity about the world around them.”

The 22 projects will share approximately £55,000, with Barnet receiving a £2,000 grant.

The automatic library memberships will work towards achieving the Arts Council’s goals of ensuring that every child and young person has the opportunity to engage with their library service, and of ensuring that libraries are sustainable and resilient.

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