The centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth which happened earlier this year was harnessed by the government’s Reading Agency to promote reading amongst under 16s.
Naming the event the Big Friendly Read after one of Dahl’s most popular characters made it an easy one for young readers to identify with.
Volunteers at Stannington Library then added an extra element by going into assemblies in all four local primary schools - Bradfield Dungworth, Nook Lane, Shooters Grove and Stannington - to talk about the fun of reading and about all the awards and prizes to be won.
They also introduced children to a new friend - Lola the Bookworm. Spurred on by the chance to win Lola, no fewer than 97 young readers completed the challenge, reading six different books and making at least three library visits during the summer holidays. This figure represents more than twice last year’s total. All 97 received a certificate and a golden medallion to mark their achievement.
The same volunteers have also been active in securing donations from Christ Church, Stannington, and Bradfield Parish Council to buy new titles in all genres. These, along with others received thanks to the continuing generosity of people in and around Stannington, mean that the library has been able enlarge its children’s section and add more than 2,500 new books to its shelves. Whether for children or for adults, these represent stock that the library just could not have had access to in any other way, and which is helping loans figures there to rise again after a drop brought about by past uncertainty about its future.
All the new books form part of The Stannington Collection which library users will recognise as the ones with a big yellow sticker on the front, the ones that have to be checked out at the desk and not through the automatic machine. They are the firm basis on which volunteers at the library are building future viability for this important facility at the heart of the whole Stannington community.