DCMS, Libraries and the promotion of reading
DCMS supports the promotion of reading through projects in libraries around the country in the following ways:
The Reading Agency
The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and Arts Council England joint fund The Reading Agency, which brings together three publicly funded agencies: Launchpad, Well Worth Reading and the Reading Partnership.
To find out more about some of the exciting work that is happening around the country to promote reading to people of all ages, visit the National Literacy Trust
Bookstart is a national scheme initiated and developed by the Book Trust (an independent charity which receives core funding from Arts Council England). Bookstart is based on the principle that you cannot be too young to enjoy books and stories.
In 2002-03 and 2003-04 Bookstart was funded with £500,000 a year by DCMS. In 2004-05 the Department for Education and Skills' Sure Start Unit will provide funding of over £1 million for the scheme, and is looking at sources of funding for future years.
Bookstart works with both library and health services. Health visitors deliver a bag of books to the parents of babies when the babies receive their seven-month health check along with details about joining their local library . The scheme has now been running for ten years since it was first piloted in Birmingham. Further information on the scheme can be found at: http://www.bookstart.co.uk/
More validity has been given to the scheme by OECD and other research which indicates the importance for later educational progress of developing a love of reading from the earliest age. Bookstart also helps bring families closer together through a shared activity - reading stories and going to the library to choose books, and perhaps joining a children's book club or reading group at the library. It has also helped develop adult basic skills for parents whose reading ability is limited - learning to read with children is often less intimidating for some adults.