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Celebrate Libraries Week with free books for children and new online offers for adults

02 October 2020

Free books for children, a new adult ‘Big Read’ and online reading activities are on offer when Norfolk Library and Information Service celebrates Libraries Week (5 – 10 October).

Throughout the week Norfolk Libraries will be highlighting on social media all the exciting ways people across the county can access books, online reading activities, and free support for adults who struggle with reading.

This year’s theme celebrates books and reading, showcasing the vital contribution that libraries across the UK make towards building a ‘Nation of Readers’ and acknowledging their remarkable efforts to keep the nation reading – providing comfort, companionship and escapism during challenging times.

Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “Our libraries have been a lifeline for many people in lockdown, keeping them connected to a world of books and reading and continuing to provide vital digital services.

“The amount of online video activities for parents and children has been a true highlight of the year for me. Our librarians have really stepped up to help all our communities keep everyone reading, learning and singing through it all.”

While events in libraries are on hold due to the pandemic, library staff across the service have been recording Baby Bounce and Rhyme, Storytime and Coding Club videos which can all be accessed for free on the Norfolk Libraries YouTube channel. Parents should follow the Norfolk Libraries for Families Facebook page for all children’s activities during Libraries Week and beyond.

Children aged 6-11 are invited to share their favourite thing about their local library or favourite book.  Submissions can be a video, picture or some written words and should be sent to the Norfolk Libraries Facebook or Twitter pages or emailed to libraries.iconnect@norfolk.gov.uk by Saturday 10 October. The favourite 500 entries will receive a free book, which the child will be able to collect from their local library in time for October half-term.

There are also plenty of live events for adults via Zoom which continue to prove popular, including Knit and Natter, author Q&A sessions and weekly Reading Friends shared reading. To find out more visit the Norfolk County Council website.

Libraries are also inviting everyone to take part in a Libraries Week Big Read. Matt Haig's 'How to Stop Time' is a wild and bittersweet story about losing and finding yourself, about the certainty of change and about the lifetimes it can take to really learn how to live. Join other readers to discuss the book at our new monthly Zoom Book Club meeting on Wednesday 28 October, at 8pm. If you'd like to take part email libraries.iconnect@norfolk.gov.uk to find out more.

A member of public who attended one of the virtual author Q&As said: “This event was well run and inclusive. It was great to be able attend something like this in the evening. As someone with a disability and a day job, who lives some distance from Norwich and is reliant on public transport, events such as author talks have not been as easily accessible before.

“I applaud you and hope it continues after we return to normal. I really admire the strides that are being made and the way everyone is trying to think creatively, now, to make more things possible. You're doing a grand job.”

As part of Black History Month, we have a special Zoom event at 8pm on Wednesday 7 October by BAME author, Michael Donkor. He'll be talking about the path to the publication of his first novel 'Hold' and sharing some writing tips. Anyone who’d like to join the session can email libraries.iconnect@norfolk.gov.uk to book a place.

Adults who struggle with reading can also access the Norfolk Reading Pathway, a free programme to support adults in becoming more confident readers. If you know anybody who would like help, please ask them to contact their local library or email nrp@norfolk.gov.uk. Learners are matched with one of our volunteer coaches and they work through the ‘Yes we can read' handbook together.

Coaching sessions are usually weekly for up to an hour. COVID-19 restrictions mean sessions are currently offered via telephone, Zoom or WhatsApp. 

Almost all of Norfolk’s Libraries have reopened and all mobile libraries are on the road again. Customers can now return items, browse and borrow books, and use a library computer. For more information about opening hours and safety measures visit the Norfolk County Council coronavirus updates page.

Readers can also share their views with others by joining the Norfolk Borrowers Facebook group.

It’s never been a better time to sign up for a free library card. With free borrowing of all the latest books at your local library, plus access to a wide range of resources online, it’s easy to stay reading, learning and entertained at home.

You can also browse our online catalogue, discover new titles and make book reservations online.

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