Leeds Libraries has added two vibrant new story buses to its service which aim to support and encourage a love of books and reading from an early age.
The buses, which have been launched during Leeds Year of Reading, are aimed at children aged 0-5 and their parents and carers. They offer families the chance to hop on board and meet library staff, who will help them choose books to borrow or take part in fun story related activities.
Leeds children chose the names of the buses, Sam and Nelly, who are quirky characters from Nick Sharratt’s popular book Don’t Put Your Finger in the Jelly. The acclaimed illustrator has also provided colourful external artwork for the two vehicles. Leeds residents will recognise his distinctive style as the bright buses journey across the city.
As part of the launch, Nick spent two days touring Leeds on the buses, visiting local children’s centres and meeting some of the young people whose imaginations were captivated by his work. The buses will continue travelling around a range of public spots, children’s centres and pop-up locations.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said:
“The story buses are a fantastic new resource for the city, and will play a key role during the Leeds Year of Reading. We want to make sure that every child born in Leeds has access to a wonderful range of resources at Leeds Libraries. Joining the library at an early age provides these life-long benefits.
“Taking our story buses into the heart of our communities provides opportunities for families and individuals, young and old, to access facilities that otherwise they may not have been able to.”
Andrea Ellison, Chief Librarian, said:
“Leeds Libraries has an amazing under-fives programme and the story buses offer an innovative way of engaging children and their families out in their local community. We can’t wait to welcome children on to the buses and are especially excited to encourage parents and caregivers who might not have considered going to their local library before to come along. Every child and adult in Leeds should feel that the library is for them, and we want to foster this as early in life as possible to ensure that all children have the best start.”
Find out when the story bus will come to your local area at https://www.leeds.gov.uk/leisure/libraries or follow @LeedsLibraries on social media for updates.
Notes to editors
Leeds Year of Reading launched on 12 September and will be running until 2020. The new initiative is a partnership between Leeds City Council and BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity. BookTrust will contribute over £1million in books and resources for children and families in Leeds over the next three years. Visit www.leedsforlearning.co.uk/YearofReading
Nick Sharratt is an award-winning illustrator and author. He has illustrated over 250 children’s books by authors including Julia Donaldson, Jeremy Strong, Michael Rosen, Giles Andreae, Kaye Umansky, Kes Gray and most famously Dame Jacqueline Wilson. He was the official illustrator for World Book Day in 2006 and holds a fellowship from Hereford College of Art.
For media enquiries:
Becky Stubbs, Leeds City Council press office