World Book Day: Redbridge libraries manager shares thoughts on importance of reading
PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 March 2017
World Book Day has a special place in many a child’s heart, offering them the opportunity to walk the corridors as their favourite fiction hero or villain, be that Willy Wonka, Bilbo Baggins, Peter Pan, or even Voldemort.
The celebration undoubtedly plays a huge role in encouraging youngsters to read, but that’s no excuse for adults to not take part, with teachers (and maybe a few parents) set to get involved as events kick off today (Thursday).
As Redbridge’s library and heritage services manager, Anita Luby is looking forward to the fun getting started.
“World Book Day is one of our community programmes to get children excited about reading,” she said. “And in Redbridge we take our children’s reading programmes very seriously.”
The fact Redbridge issues more books to children than any other London borough attests to that, and staff and volunteers feel “very proud” about the achievement.
“I think our success around children’s reading engagement is because we invest quite heavily in terms of the stock and we have lots of activities throughout the year,” said Anita, “And World Book Day is one of those highlights.”
Drop-in book-themed sessions and storytelling events will run after school at a number of Redbridge’s libraries (with staff joining in with the dressing-up), and the fun will continue into Saturday with workshops led by Wizard Stories and Tamarind Theatre.
“I’m all for a fun day celebrating books,” added Anita. “I’m really passionate about children engaging with books and we try to make sure that very early on children have got that love of reading.
“Even just 10 minutes a day with your child can increase their confidence and there’s so many opportunities for learning, reading helps you in all other areas of your life.”
A self-confessed bookworm from a young age, Anita grew up reading authors such as Enid Blyton and has passed on her passion to her children, aged six and four, who are making the transition from picture books to children’s stories, enjoying Roald Dahl tales and Harry Potter.
“As a parent, the libraries are wonderful spaces for them to come into and as a person working for the library service, I think for lots of kids if they don’t have that opportunity to engage with books at home, this is a good, safe space for them to do so.
“Our Reading Buddies programme is for children who find reading difficult, or just don’t have that opportunity to read with their parents at home, it’s a place for them to really improve their reading and share their love of books.”
Anita and her colleagues are gearing up for a full year of literary fun, with Elmer Day and a Cat in the Hat show both taking place in May. Adult readers will be able to enjoy Cityread London in April, while the popular Fabula Festival returns in October.
With the role of libraries in the community continuing to evolve, and visitors wanting them to “do more than they used to”, Redbridge’s team will continue to host a plethora of events, including theatre shows, but will always bring them back to the book.
Keep up to date with library activities by visiting redbridge.gov.uk/libraries/libraries-events or popping into your local branch.