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Automatic library card for every child in Wales

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New initiative launched to raise literacy levels.

Welsh libraries and primary schools are joining forces to provide every primary school child with a free library card - starting with children aged 8/9 in six local authorities - Blaenau Gwent, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Merthyr Tydfil, Powys and Swansea.

Launching the initiative today in Tredegar Library the Minister for Culture & Sport, John Griffiths, said:

"The link between library usage and literacy levels is well documented - over 42,000 children in Wales took part in last year’s Summer Reading Challenge which ran in 245 libraries across the country.

"Those children that took part maintained or improved their reading levels and we are hoping to build on this by giving every child the opportunity to use their library to borrow books and access all the other services available to them.”

Also attending the launch is Dr Rhys Jones, best known for his hit BBC series including ‘Rhys to the Rescue’ and ‘Dr Rhys Jones’s Wildlife Patrol’.

As Patron of this new initiative Dr Rhys Jones said:

"Libraries are such an important resource - they are a great place for children to let their imagination grow and to develop and it is vitally important that we encourage our children to read more not only to improve their literacy levels but also to help them with life skills and future opportunities."

Year Four pupils from Bryn Bach Primary School will be attending the launch event and their teacher Sam Jones commented:

"Getting the children out of school and into the library enabling them to pick their own books and hearing them discuss their favourites is wonderful. And if we can encourage all children to use the library it will no doubt have a beneficial effect on how they perform in the classroom too."

This library card will allow the children to borrow books straight away and get a free goodie bag to carry their books home with them. Once proof of address is provided, they can then have access to thousands of free books as well as many more resources to help improve their school work and enhance their leisure time, including:

FREE fiction, non-fiction, comics, graphic novels and talking books
FREE homework help - online and in the library
FREE e-books and e-magazines
FREE computer use and internet access
Clubs, games, events, activities and classes in the library
Friendly, helpful library staff
Somewhere safe to meet friends
This project also compliments the Welsh Government’s 'Make Time to Read' campaign, just 10 minutes reading a day can make a big difference. Reading books at home will help you enjoy reading and do better at school.

For more information please visit: www.welshlibraries.org/schools

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