Baby bookworms discover the world of reading

She may be too young to read, but Halle Edwards has become Edinburgh's youngest library member – at the tender age of three weeks.

baby library card
Mum Kirstin Elliot holding baby Halle, Leith Library team leader Sandra Wright, and dad Martin Edwards.
She is the first baby in the Capital to take part in the Scotland-wide Every Child a Library Member scheme, which aims to improve literacy rates amongst children.

Every new parent in Edinburgh is being given the chance to sign their baby up for library membership at the same time as they register their birth. Halle became the first newborn to take part when her parents, Kirstin and Martin, registered her at Leith Registrars.

Kirstin, who owns a guesthouse in Newhaven with Martin, said: "We thought that it sounded like a lovely idea, so agreed to Halle becoming a member. It’s been a long time since I've been in the library, and I'm looking forward to going along to activities such as Rhyme Time with her."

Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture and Sport Convener for the Council, said: "Welcome to our youngest member! I hope that Halle and her family will find plenty of entertainment within our excellent library facilities. This scheme is a fantastic idea, and I hope that many more parents will follow suit.

"Reading is such an important activity for developing minds – not only is it a fun and free thing to do, it’s a vital part of education for children. Halle will now have the opportunity to enjoy a huge range of board books, pop-ups, stories on DVD and continue to benefit from the library experience as she gets older with e-books, online information, exciting activities and book groups."

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: "Libraries are often the hub of a local community – providing vital access to information and resources that people may otherwise not have and the Scottish Government believes everyone, especially children, should have access to library services. The First Minister launched the "Every Child A Library Member" pilot scheme in August. These pilots are seeing library membership cards given to children at key stages from birth to Primary One with an aim to promote library use and improve literacy.

"I welcome this innovative Edinburgh project which will provide youngsters with access to interactive stories, pop-ups and board books. Scottish Government investment through the Scottish Library Information Council is supporting many public library projects that encourage library use by children in LAs across Scotland, which includes over £80,000 to ensure every local authority will trial methods to give children automatic membership to their local library."

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