Happy Birthday Rainbow Library!!

14 Feb

Woooo! One year old! The Rainbow Library was created a year ago today for International Book Giving Day 2013. And now there are 4 of them!!!

Thank you for all the support and encouragement – and books – along the way. It means a huge amount to me. And most importantly, to the children who use the Rainbow Libraries.

For IBGD this year, Rainbow Library 1 has had a bit of a makeover and lots of new books.

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I’m also releasing a secret weapon over there. More about that in a mo’.

The second Rainbow Library is still receiving parcels from you lovely lot, so didn’t need any extra books from me. Thank you everyone! But I’m not leaving Rainbow Library 2 out. For their IBGD celebrations I have finally finished some story sacks which will be going straight to Gem’s library for her children to enjoy when they get back from half term.

Rainbow Library 3 – the community library – has had a stack of new books delivered and I’ll be taking a big folder of colouring and activity sheets down there for half term.

The biggest project has been creating library number 4

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In action for just over a week now, it is being used every day and by more and more families. I think it’s going to be a real success.

Thank you to @cjfriess, @chaletfan, @Claravulliamy, @patrickgeorge, @hodderchildrens, and Helen and Thomas Docherty for their generous donations for International Book Giving Day today. They are hugely appreciated and will make lots of children very happy!

What’s next?
I’ve been plotting. I’ve been looking at the existing libraries and figuring out how to improve them.

What I’ve learnt
(This is the bit where I bang on about books. Again.)
Books make a difference.
A massive difference. Children’s lives can genuinely be changed by having access to books. The research is indisputable. Children who have access to books have a better chance in life. It’s that simple.
Children NEED books.

But putting books in a box in a space where children can access them isn’t enough. No matter how beautiful the books are, the kids who really NEED those books need help getting to them. For all sorts of reasons. Their parents or carers. Their confidence. Their interest. Their knowledge. Their ability. Their concentration. Whether they had breakfast or not. Whether they’ve ever held a book before or not.

A library needs a librarian.
Someone who can take the kids by the hand, crouch down at their level and show them the books. Someone who can talk to the parents, take away any fear or resentment. Someone who can encourage. Support. Smile. Laugh.

The Rainbow Library that is flourishing is the library that has Gem at the helm. I want to learn from what she does so well and so naturally and share it out to the other libraries. So for IBGD this year I have been recruiting. And that’s where Lauren comes in. She is one of the superstars at the nursery where the first Rainbow Library is based. I’ve been talking to her about the library and I’m hoping that she can be the bridge between the books and the children/parents. I’ll be working with her to make sure that all the children are accessing the books and that I’m providing the books that the children want and need. Because what is the point of books in a box? Books in the hands and hearts of children is much more important!

So Rainbow Library 1 has Lauren, Rainbow Library 2 has Gem and Rainbow Libraries 3 and 4 are stuck with me. At least until the summer when I will be handing over Rainbow Library 4 to one of the staff at the school. I think it’s important that the libraries become self sufficient. I will always help with new books and resources but I can’t be there at every library every week to make sure the children are getting the most from it. I have learnt that it is only part of my role to get a library up and running. The much more important part is to help the staff there to support children’s access to it.

With that in mind, I want to build a network of Rainbow Librarians who can share ideas and resources with each other. Initially that might just look like me taking Gem and Lauren out to the pub and chatting about books for an evening. But I’m hoping that it will build to an email group and Dropbox account where resources can be stored and shared, where book requests can be managed, questions asked and problems shared.

What you can do
Join in! Celebrate International Book Giving Day. Give a book. Simple as.

It’s half term next week. Go and get a book for a child you know to help keep them entertained during a week that will probably be made entirely of rain and wind.

Maybe you have a stash of books that your children have grown out of, or could spare a few pounds spent on books at a charity shop. I bet there is a school or nursery near you that would chew your arm off for those books. Ask them. Perhaps you could help them start their own Rainbow Library!

Of course, you could always send a book to The Rainbow Libraries. Just give me a shout and I’ll let you know how.

Give a book. It’ll make you smile.

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One Response to “Happy Birthday Rainbow Library!!”

  1. Julia Lee February 14, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

    Reblogged this on Julia Lee Author and commented:
    This is a project close to my heart, as I used to run a book and toy library for very young children with all sorts of developmental difficulties (not that that made a difference, they were children first of all) and know the fun and thrill and pleasure of introducing a small person to a book they are going to be intrigued by and really enjoy. And setting up a love for, and confidence with, books in future…

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