Here in the North East the 12 local authority Library Services organise the annual Northern Children’s Book Festival in November. It is a two week festival of events with authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers in libraries and schools culminating in the huge open “Gala Day”, this year hosted by South Tyneside Libraries at Mortimer Community College in South Shields on Saturday 20th November. This year the author line-up consists of Julia Donaldson, Catherine Rayner, Nick Butterworth, Justin Richards, Steve Cole, The Two Steves, Chris Bradford, Robert Crowther, Korky Paul, Kjartan Poskitt and Karen McCombie. Absolutely fantastic to have all these (plus arts and crafts, a virtual graffiti wall, street theatre, early years sessions and sessions for hearing and visually impaired children) in one place at the same time!
In addition to the hundreds of families who independently come along from across the whole North East region we always have groups of school children brought
along by teachers and I would like to quote the Head Teacher of one such school who this year faces a round trip of 80 miles to attend –
“Children and staff from our school have travelled to attend this event every year for the past seven years. We appreciate the opportunity to bring children from an area of economic deprivation to such a special event as a way of making reading fun. This reinforces the work we are doing to promote a love of books”.
Just another example of the ways in which librarians and libraries contribute to the nation’s education priorities.