Glasgow’s baby library card scheme turns two

Glasgow’s baby library card scheme turns two

Two years ago, 13 day old Leo Cram became Glasgow Libraries youngest member when he received his very own library card thanks to a nationwide scheme that aims to see every child in Scotland signed up as a library member.

Now the trailblazing tot has turned two, and we caught up with him in Whiteinch Library to discover what two years of the Every Child a Library Member scheme means to a toddler, with a little help from mum, Emma.

Emma, who lives in Scotstounhill, said:

“We go to Whiteinch Library, which is really near to our house, at least once a fortnight. It’s a really nice library, and the staff make Leo and I feel so welcome.

“I think it’s brilliant that library cards are given to new parents when they register their baby’s birth. In all honesty, you’re perhaps unlikely to think about going to the library in the first few months, but once you’ve settled in to a bit more of a routine it’s great to know that you’re welcome to come along anytime. It’s really helped both Leo and my older son Noah to develop good reading habits as it develops an interest in books at such a young age.”

Since the launch of the project, 7,616 new born babies have signed up for their very own library cards with the city’s registrars.

And parents keen to avoid any sibling rivalry will be pleased to hear that older siblings can register for their very own library card too when their baby brother or sister signs up for theirs with the City Registrars, meaning no one misses out on the fun and excitement on offer at their local library. More than 600 siblings have signed up with the City’s Registrars to date.

The range of services offered to new babies and their parents throughout the city’s 32 community libraries, and the iconic Mitchell Library, has grown considerably over the years. Glasgow Life has transformed the service to enable parents and children to participate in a vast array of activities and events designed to aid childhood development, together with the more traditional services associated with a library.

Libraries are now home to bright, colourful children’s areas stocked with a fantastic selection of books and magazines for babies whilst regular Bounce & Rhyme sessions, offered in every community library, enable parents and carers to engage with their babies through action songs, rhymes and stories that help develop speech, language and communication.

Emma continued:

“The kids are free to play in the children’s area, which is really good – they aren’t being told to be quiet or not explore. Once they’ve run about for a bit, they’ll choose some books themselves.

“Having the low shelves and book troughs, and the little tables and chairs is so good, as it’s the right size for Leo to feel like it’s made for him; it isn’t intimidating at all. He’ll take his shoes off and we’ll cuddle up and read a book while we’re in the library, and then Leo will pick some to take home.

“Going along to your local library with your little ones is such a nice thing to do – they’re local, free and you know that your child’s mind is being stimulated, which as a parent makes you feel good!”

Funded by Scottish Government via the Scottish Library and Information Council and devised to ensure that every child in Scotland is given the same opportunities to harness the power of books, the Every Child a Library Member scheme helps to support educational benefits, whilst contributing towards improving literacy levels and addressing child poverty issues through inspiring a love of reading in children.

In Glasgow, the project aims to ensure that every family with a new born child registered within the Glasgow City Council boundary has the opportunity to sign up for baby’s first library card, opening up the many benefits of library membership to the newest Glaswegians.

Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said:

“Reading stories together is not only a wonderful way for parents and siblings to interact with the newest member of their family, but also incredibly important for supporting our children’s speech and language development.

“We know that new parents might not always have time to visit their local library when their baby first arrives; but we hope that by providing library cards through a partnership with the City Registrars the newest residents of Glasgow will know that the library is there for them, and their parents, whenever they are ready to discover the magical worlds inside.

“I would urge all new parents to sign up for a library card when they register their baby’s birth and help the next generation of Glaswegians to fall in love with books through their local library service.”

Glasgow Life is committed to providing amazing places to read, learn and discover across the city. Located in every council ward, the city’s libraries offer a trusted guide at the heart of the community. Through targeted projects such as the Every Child a Library Member scheme, Glasgow Life hopes to develop and nurture a love of libraries across the city for all ages.

To find out more about Every Child a Library Member in Glasgow, or for more information on the Vision for Glasgow Libraries, please visit: