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Getting the best out of the library service

We can help your child's reading and development in lots of different areas. Here's our guide to using the service to get the most out of it.

Pre-school children

All our libraries run activities for children of all ages, including Bookstart sessions such as baby bounce and tot rock.

Babies and toddlers can have their own library card and borrow books for free.

What we stock

  • chunky board books which are great to feel
  • picture books
  • counting books
  • rhyme books
  • fairy tales
  • TV favourites

Helping your baby or toddler to enjoy reading and prepare for them for school

Your child will enjoy regular access to books, which will help them become a enthusiastic reader.

When you read with your child set aside some quiet time. Sit close, smile and use funny voices.

Encourage your child to look carefully at the pictures. Talk about the story: ask them about what they think will happen next and explain the characters’ actions.

Reading with your child will improve their attention span and listening skills. This will help them when they learn to read at school.

Babies and toddlers feel safe within established routines and rituals. A bedtime story is the perfect end to their day. Recent research shows that babies learn most just before they sleep.

Your child will often want to borrow the same book several times. Choosing their own books and showing a preference for a particular story is the beginning of their lifelong journey as a reader.

Reading ideas and suggestions

  • Bookstart, who specialise in young children’s reading journey
  • Featured books for babies and toddlers from Lovereading4kids
  • Advice from Ladybird books on getting your child reading before they start school
  • DKfindout! supplements DKfindout! educational titles. Great for homework or finding out more about a particular subject.

Primary school children

Our libraries are family friendly places that offer free internet use and wifi.

All our libraries run activities for children of all ages, including craft sessions, story times and author visits. We also run the national Summer Reading Challenge every year.

Children can have their own library card and borrow books for free.

What we stock

We arrange children’s books to match with the way your child learns.

We don’t stock reading schemes. Instead, we buy as wide a range of other books as we can that will support your child’s reading at school. These include:

Categories Age range Book spine label
Beginner reads: Stories for children just starting to read independently 4 - 7 Beginner reads spine label
Short chapter books: Stories for younger readers 6 - 8 Short chapter books spine label
Picture books for older readers: Includes cartoons older children Picture books for older readers spine label
Junior novels: Longer stories aimed at more confident readers 8 - 12 None

Using the library to improve your child’s reading skills

You can help your children by bringing them to the library to choose books.

We stock thousands of books for all levels:

  • When they’ve just learnt a few letter sounds
  • When they’re beginning to read with some support
  • When they can read short sentences
  • When they’re independent readers

You can be a reading role-model for children. As well as reading imaginative books to and with them, you can ask them to:

  • read the recipes for you when you cook
  • read out a shopping list when you go round the supermarket
  • read road signs, labels and instructions or the TV guide

Using the library to help your child’s emotional development

Children who read for pleasure do better at school. Before you even get to the educational stuff like increasing vocabulary and phonic awareness, you can also help nurture a child’s emotional development, self-esteem and capacity to empathise with others.

Reading ideas and suggestions