Scotland politics

Pilot schemes to give all children automatic library membership

Child in library Image copyright Thinkstock

All Scottish children could automatically become library members in a bid to promote literacy.

Pilot projects are being developed in every council area to enrol children during their early years.

Children will be given library cards either at birth, age three or four - or in P1.

The scheme will also see libraries working with schools and communities to promote the services they offer to families.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joined P1 members at Glasgow's Mitchell Library to promote the initiative.

The children are part of Glasgow Life's pilot which will target 2,000 pupils in six areas with issues of lower literacy.

From 7 September, every baby registered in the Glasgow area will be given a library card by the registrar.

Ms Sturgeon said: "Our libraries are often the hub of a local community - providing vital access to information and resources that people would otherwise not have.

"Now, thanks to £80,000 Scottish government funding, every local authority in Scotland will trial methods to give children automatic membership to their local library.

"Libraries can empower communities - often in our most deprived areas where we know that young people can have lower levels of literacy and numeracy.

"Access to books and learning materials will help us to make sure that every child has the opportunity to get excited about reading."

Councillor Archie Graham, chairperson of Glasgow Life, added: "An appreciation for books and an enthusiasm for reading is one of the most important gifts we can give our children.

"Not only is reading vital to improving literacy levels but it also opens up a number of opportunities throughout young people's lives; developing valuable life-skills, signposting them on to education and employment pathways and supporting our future generations to grow and prosper as active citizens."

Earlier this year Dumfries and Galloway Council launched its Every Child a Member initiative.

It means every family registering a birth is offered a library membership for their child.

The authority said that one of its priorities was to provide the "best start in life" for all children.

"We are continuing to engage with families to encourage more children to use and enjoy their local library and enjoy books," added councillor Tom McAughtrie.

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