First Bristol Children’s Centre Opens New Cloakroom Library

Southmead is the first Children’s Centre in Bristol to open a Cloakroom Library.

Part of the Reading City initiative, Cloakroom Libraries are an informal way for families and children to have quick access books and reading in local settings where they already regularly visit, such as schools, nurseries and children’s centres.

A Bristol City Council initiative delivered with local partners, Cloakroom Libraries are a network of new, mini libraries and are already in operation at Laurence Weston City Farm and Windmill Hill City Farm.

Mayor Marvin Rees who officially opened the new Cloakroom Library at the Centre today alongside Councillor Anna Keen, Cabinet Lead for Education and Skills and Councillor Helen Godwin, Cabinet Member for Children and Families and Ward Member for Southmead, said the project is about creating more opportunities for children to discover the joys of books and reading.

He said:

“Bristol is England’s first UNESCO Learning City and are proud to champion lifelong learning opportunities for everyone. We know that having access to books from an early age has a significant impact on the education and social outcomes – as well as the mental health – of children and young people.

“These new Cloakroom Libraries located across Bristol are an additional way for children and families to have regular, easy access to books and reading.

“As part of our continuing commitment to Bristol’s libraries, we launched the £100,000 Library Innovation Fund last month which helps local people implement their ideas about what changes they would like to see at their local libraries.”

The libraries will be run on an informal, honesty system where borrowers take the book they would like, recording their name and its title in a log book.

In the UK each year approximately 20% of children leave primary school not being able to read adequately, with literacy problems being linked to social issues including crime, poverty, depression and poor health.

John Milne, former Head of Clifton College, a Reading Champion and the CEO of the Constellation Group – a hub for education-related services – said:

“Reading is the portal to life and Constellation Group supports all initiatives that enable young people in the City of Bristol to flourish. This is an inspirational initiative which has brought together local supporters and partners to make these Cloakroom Libraries a reality. ”

Emma Muggridge, Director of Charlcombe Ltd and sponsor of the Southmead Children’s Centre Cloakroom Library said:

“We are proud to support the Reading City initiative. What a great campaign by the city council to get more young people to access reading opportunities”.

New Cloakroom Libraries will be launched at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children’s, Kingfisher Children’s Centre and Barton Hill Settlement Nursery next month.


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