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Exciting new library programme for under-5s aims to boost children’s love of books

Posted on 05 Apr 2024

An exciting new early years reading programme with stickers to collect has been launched in libraries across Devon and Torbay, aiming to inspire a lifelong love of reading.

Libro’s Friends is an extension of Libraries Unlimited’s hugely successful The Secret Book Quest, which was launched in 2021.

Both programmes have been created as part of Libraries Unlimited’s drive to boost the reading skills of children in the county.

The Secret Book Quest uses a free sticker collection book to set older children a 50-book goal and takes them on a journey through topics ranging from space to animals.

With Libro’s Friends, under-5s will get a similar sticker book and the chance to collect ten unique stickers to find out where Libro the Cat’s animal friends are hiding. Libro is an established character in The Secret Book Quest, created by the illustrator, Emily Fox. Emily is an acclaimed children’s book illustrator whose has created artwork for the covers of children’s classics as well as a compilation of writing edited by award-winning author, Katherine Rundell.

Children who go to their library with their parents or carers and sign up for Libro’s Friends will be able to collect a free sticker book and their first sticker straight away. We hope this will encourage them back to enjoy more stories at the library! They’ll be able to pick up a new sticker for each new visit, with each sticker revealing one of Libro’s animal pals including Marli the mouse, Ollie the owl and Faisal the fox. Once they’ve found each of Libro the Cat’s eight friends, they’ll receive a final sticker as a reward for completing the adventure.

Sophie Crofts, Reading Development Manager with Libraries Unlimited, said: “We’re really excited to be launching this fantastic new programme aimed at developing early reading skills in young children. Almost 7000 children have so far signed up to read 50 books on The Secret Book Quest, and we are hoping to reach just as many little ones with Libro’s Friends. As they go through the adventure, we hope they’ll develop an all important love of stories and books, but also a love of their local library where they are free to choose from a wide selection of books to really spark their imaginations. Reading together is of course valuable family bonding time, and will also develop their speech and language skills at a crucial age.”

“Books and reading are essential in sparking a child’s imagination. It sets them up for life to be able to connect with the wider world around them. And the best way to encourage children is by reading to them and by making it fun. We know Libro and his friends are offering exactly that.”

Older siblings aged 5 and over who haven’t yet signed up for The Secret Book Quest can join the challenge digitally here and sign up in person at their local library. There is a special prize to win when they reach the Secret Book Quest goal of reading 50 books.

To sign up for Libro’s Friends visit your local library in person. This is also an opportunity to discover the other exciting activities going on in libraries aimed at babies and young children, including Bounce & Rhyme and Stay & Play groups, Storytime reading groups and baby weighing facilities.

Libro’s Friends will be available from all libraries from Saturday 6th April.

Libraries Unlimited believes…

…in the unlimited potential of library services to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through a shared love of reading and access to high quality information and facilities.