The Rainbow Library week 1

Tomorrow the Rainbow library will reopen after half term week. I will be taking in a haul of new books for the children to explore and borrow and I’ll be organising my first reading session.
Look at the treasures that await them!


I can’t wait to see their faces!

The library was only open for two days before the half term holidays but in those two days, seven children took home eleven books. Not bad! I also had my first mini-breakthrough. A wary mum admitted that she was worried about her child ruining or losing a library book and I was able to convince her to take a risk and take a book. It might not come back but thanks to all the generous donations received I could tell her it didn’t matter.

In the two days of library fun the children were straight in and exploring the books. They were immediately attracted to the TV tie-in books – Fireman Sam, Toy Story and Bob the Builder. They also chose books with animals on the cover – Sylvia and Bird, Ouch in the Pouch, Blue.

Grandparents seemed more interested and involved in the children’s choices than the parents were. Perhaps they have more time to spend playing with and reading to their grandchildren, more time to linger at nursery at drop off time or more respect for books and their value? It will be interesting to see how that develops.

There were quite a lot of parents that looked down their noses at the books, pushed their children past and were generally dismissive. Although it was disheartening, I was interested to notice that sometimes their children tried to pull back and look. It confirmed that the children are attracted to books despite their parents’ attitudes, that it’s never too late to interest them.

There are so many reasons that the parents might not be interested in books. Some of them might be uncomfortable with their own reading abilities, some may have been taught by their parents or peers to view books as elitist and ‘other’. The fact that the children show an innate interest and have a natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge gives me hope. I hope that I can use my volunteering time in the nursery to share books with them and show them the pleasure, fun and comfort that can be gained from books. I’ve bought some rainbow monster reward stickers to give to the children and I’ve got some specific books on order that I hope will attract, encourage and support the children who need it most.

Maybe the Rainbow library can convert a few children to the joys of books, words and pictures. Perhaps it might challenge or even change the attitude of some of the adults. We shall see.

I have been amazed and humbled by the response to my initial blog post about setting up the library. I have received books, donations, advice, inspiration, retweets and support and I am so grateful to all of you. The success of the Rainbow library will be down to all of you. Thank you.

Special thanks, and cake, are due to Team Rainbow:
Kerry Haselup for her enthusiasm and support, for her charity shopping prowess and for putting up with the piles of books taking over the house.
Clara Vulliamy for offering her long term support and for sending a wonderful selection of her books for the library. Also for creating my Rainbow Book Fairy rosette, of which I am ridiculously proud.
And ReaditDaddy for all his inspiration and support and for answering all my silly questions with kindness and patience.

On to week two. May it bring more books, smiles and breakthroughs! I’ll keep you all posted.

6 thoughts on “The Rainbow Library week 1

Add yours

  1. Lovely to hear about your first week Carmen. I’m sure that the children will lead the parents to the books once they’ve all got used to you being there 🙂

  2. Awww thanks, I’m humbled to be mentioned amongst such glowing company – and it’s great to read about the people who come and use it and also the ‘tough sells’. You’re right that quite often it’s the parents who don’t see reading as important for themselves, so naturally carry forward the assumption that their kids won’t be interested either (despite, as you said, the kids actually sounding like they wanted to stop, browse and take a look).

    After my experiences at the weekend, I noticed fairly quickly that when parents came to pick up their kids while I was storytelling, quite a lot wanted to hurry their kids away despite the kids actually wanting to stay to hear the end of a story. I think it’s very sad that some parents see books and reading as being low priority when there’s so many adventures and so much fun to be had nurturing a love of books and stories.

    You are doing great work Carmen, I will never stop telling you this – keep on keeping on, I think you’re brill and long may the Rainbow Library reign!

    1. Such a lovely comment, thank you. I’m already getting a few dodgy looks from some of the parents, it will only be a matter of time before I am labelled as the weird book woman. Although, to be fair, some of them have been very supportive. It definitely feels right to start with the children and work outwards through them.
      Baby steps!

  3. I just had a thought about the parents passing quickly by – I wonder if it would be helpful to create a cheery, bright, big poster that you could hang up beside the table so that people can find out what is going on, without having to approach you personally. I know when I’ve had a stall outside the school gates, I get more interest if parents can surreptitiously find out what the stall is all about – then it’s easier for them to approach me for more information, especially if they have no idea who I am.

    1. Yes, I really need something like that. Unfortunately it’s not an ideal set up, it’s a shared building so I can’t put up anything permanently and the book box gets brought out by the staff every morning when they set up. I have stuck a ‘how does it work’ leaflet on the side of the box and I spotted one parent reading that surreptitiously yesterday. But the foyer just doesn’t work very well, there isn’t much space and if someone puts a buggy in front of it, that’s it. Maybe I could ask the nursery to send a leaflet about the library home with each kid, explaining what it is and how to use it?

      I’m going in to read with the children today and I’m hoping that I might be able to get the books straight to the kids that way- bring the library box in, read with them and let them choose a book to take home. Then they’ll get used to seeing the box and knowing how it works and maybe they’ll start using it in the foyer too. We’ll see. The stickers will help I’m sure!

      Thanks for your ideas, Zoe. Keep them coming!

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