Manchester children are being gifted their own library card at birth, to ensure they get the earliest possible head-start in learning.
Starting this month, every child born in Manchester is being gifted a library card and welcome leaflet at their birth registration. The free cards will also be distributed at local SureStart centres from later this year.
Babies respond to hearing stories, just as they do to songs, music and rhythm and so early visits to a library could kickstart a love of words and speech – which will strongly benefit children when they go to school and onwards into their adult life.
The free resources available at libraries for new mums and dads include baby board books with sound and textures, picture books and CDs of stories, rhymes and song – plus regular, free tiny tots and toddler group sessions, with stories and fun activities for children aged under five.
For parents, libraries offer a relaxing, welcoming place to bring their child and a free meeting place to socialise with other parents, grandparents and carers. Free Wi-Fi and internet – plus books, e-books, e-magazines, information and events relating to childcare, nutrition and exercise – are all available at Manchester Libraries. Most Manchester libraries offer baby-changing space, while staff are ready to offer a special welcome for grown-ups with a child.
Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “We want to make sure that children in Manchester get ahead when it comes to learning, which is why we are gifting all new babies their own library card.
“Reading together is great for bonding and building a strong, loving relationship with your child. Children who are read to from an early age do better when they get to school, so enjoying stories with their parents will help to give them a flying start in life.
“Children are never too young to benefit from learning at their local library, while for parents, they are the perfect place to get free access to important information – and make new friends.”
Tomorrow (Tuesday 17 October), Manchester Libraries staff will be taking over the council’s social media channels – tweeting from some of the wide range of activities happening across the city.