It’s National Libraries Week – time to celebrate the city’s libraries in a digital age

On Sunday, hundreds of children from across the city enjoyed an out of this world
afternoon of entertainment at Hull City Hall to celebrate their success in this
year’s space-themed Hull fREADom Quest.
Photo: Jerome Whittingham.

Libraries today are so much more than just books and beyond the pages of the hundreds of thousands of books available to borrow from Hull’s 12 libraries, a wide range of activities, clubs and events await for children and their families to enjoy – from hands-on science experiments and gardening to photography, dance, illustration, and even coding. 

Yesterday marked the start of National Libraries Week, the perfect time for children and families alike to step into one of Hull’s libraries to discover what’s on offer.  

This year’s theme celebrates ‘Libraries in a Digital World’ and explores how libraries are engaging communities through technology, building digital skills and confidence and supporting local business and enterprise. Hull’s libraries are no exception. 

Hull Libraries are continuing to lead the way in this area with Makerspace Hull, located in Hull Central Library. Offering state of the art manual, digital and electronic equipment, skilled staff providing support and workshops, as well as space to create, invent, explore, learn, think and exhibit, Makerspace encourages children and grown-ups to explore their creativity in arts, science, technology and engineering – independently or collaboratively. 

Proving libraries offer more than just books on shelves, digital books are available to borrow. Plus, children can learn new skills at Code Club and the Family Maker Day where they can try circuit building, film making, photography, 3D design and laser cutting.   

Christine Hill, Principal Librarian at Hull Libraries, said: “We want to see more children and their families visit their local library. We know that not every child or family enjoys reading, or may never have tried it, but it’s not just books on shelves that our libraries offer. We also have a wide range of digital books and a whole host of other engaging activities available for children to explore and fuel their imaginations, such as learning a new skill in the Makerspace, borrowing DVD’s or meeting new friends at our many activity sessions. A whole world awaits for Hull’s young people, and hopefully they’ll pick up a book along the way.

“On Sunday (6 October), hundreds of children from across the city enjoyed an afternoon of space-themed entertainment at Hull City Hall as we celebrated their success in this year’s Hull fREADom Quest. It was a delight to see so many children engaged in reading. With literacy levels on the decline in Hull and across the country, it’s so important that children are encouraged to explore books – both the paper and digital variety – because reading is more important than ever. 

“Our libraries are engaging children not only through reading, but through technology, introducing digital skills, confidence, creativity and most of all, fun! Because if there’s no fun, it’s really hard to get them engaged.

”We know that when children who read books, either on their own or with a grown up or other child, it stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. Reading for pleasure with children, going through a book together, talking about it, looking at the pictures, now has solid research evidence showing that it can improve language development and capacity for paying attention and also social and emotional outcomes. But also, it’s just a really nice thing to do as a family.”

This week also celebrates World Mental Health Day (10 October). Last year the National Literacy Trust published its report ‘Mental wellbeing, reading and writing’, which found that children who are the most engaged with reading and writing are three times more likely to have higher levels of mental wellbeing than children who don’t. 

Christine Hill added: “Thankfully, in Hull we’ve seen an increase in children’s book borrowing, with numbers going up in the summer. We’d love to see even more children and their families join the library, explore new worlds and ignite their imaginations. While there is a world of books to dive into, books aren’t the only things on offer and we would really love to see more children come along and have some fun.”

There is lots going on at the libraries this October and during half-term: with Code Clubs, Lego Clubs, Toddler Time happening at libraries across the city; for the under-12s, join us for Halloween Crafts on 30 October from 1-2.30pm at Hull Central Library; and on 1 November come along and try some different stuff at the Family Maker Day at Central Library (£10 per child).

[Laura Andrew – Home PR]