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Young readers will benefit from a new library scheme in Eden offering weekend reading sessions. Today (April 30) Cumbria County Council’s Local Committee for Eden agreed to fund a ‘Stories on Saturday’ project at Alston, Appleby, Kirkby Stephen and Shap libraries beginning in the autumn term.
Stories on Saturday will see teenage volunteers helping to host weekly sessions for children between the ages of five and seven and will allow the children and their parents to discuss and explore books the children have read.
The aims of the project are to work with children to develop their interest in books and reading as well as encouraging the use of libraries at the weekend.
Eden Local Committee’s decision to fund the sessions follows the successful pilot at Penrith Library last autumn with a similar scheme called ‘Sharing Stories on a Sunday’. This pilot was aimed at children aged between five and seven and used teenage volunteers to deliver the sessions that involved discussing books the children had read on Sunday afternoons.
By extending the project across Eden, committee aims to address the issues of travel faced by many young people and develop reading right across the district.
Sessions will be run in the autumn in Alston, Appleby, Kirkby Stephen and Shap on Saturdays as these libraries are not open on Sundays.
Funding, which will come from Eden Local Committee’s 0-19 budget, will provide for additional staff hours to run the sessions, support funding for volunteer expenses and pay for support materials and marketing for the sessions.
Councillor Martin Stephenson, chairman of Eden Local Committee, said: "The pilot at Penrith Library has been a big success, so we feel it’s important to now roll the scheme out across the district so more children can benefit.
"Helping young children develop an interest in books has long term advantages of improving their reading and literacy skills and I think the fact this project uses teenage volunteers is excellent too.
"The evidence we’ve seen from Penrith has shown that both the young children and secondary school-aged volunteers benefit tremendously from the experience and I’m looking forward to seeing this take off around Eden.”
There will be six consecutive Saturday sessions starting from 29 September, possibly with a break for half term, to be agreed with each group.
For further details of the sessions and how to enrol, please contact Deb Holden, senior librarian at Penrith Library on 01768 812104 or by emailing email@example.com