Helping children to love reading is crucial to developing literacy skills, wellbeing and offering an increased range of opportunities through life.  The more children enjoy reading, the more they’ll do it, leading to increased literacy skills.  Our new infographic shines a spotlight on a few of the ways we’ve been supporting children and young people over the last school year.

Free books

As much as we love our libraries and encourage everyone to borrow books from us, we also understand that there is something really special about owning your own book at home.  Not all families are able to buy books, so since the pandemic Read Manchester has developed a new book gifting programme.  Thanks to the generosity of many publishers, businesses and with our partners at National Literacy Trust, we have given 80,000 brand new books to children and families over the last twelve months.

Boy in a mask standing in front of a Read Manchester stand

School sessions

For some children, the first time they visit a library might be with their school class.  Our school programme aims to inspire children to become readers (and library users).  Our programmes are varied – from theatre performances to meet-the-author sessions, to themed craft sessions, local history sessions and everything in-between! Our library staff are craft experts, storytellers, singers, animators and readers.  Seventy-five percent of our Manchester schools engaged with Libraries and Read Manchester either in-person or were involved in a digital session. 

Manchester Central Library, GadgeTeens reading challenge, local illustrator Ian Morris from Middleton runs a workshop on illustrating books with children from St Anne's RC Primary School, Ancoats

Events and activities

Our library events and activities programme has grown enormously in the past year as families started to re-engage with libraries after covid.  Our libraries are busy delivering a range of events – from Lego clubs to reading groups, craft sessions, holiday activities and themed events, such as Black History Month, International Mother Language Day and the Libraries Festival (to name but a few).  Forty-two thousand children enjoyed our varied free events and activity programme.

Child holding a handmade robot.

Summer Reading Challenge

This was our second year of working really closely with our colleagues in Education and schools to widen the reach of the Summer Reading Challenge.  Pupils in 50 primary schools (20,000 children) were all given library cards and joined the Challenge to read 6 library books over the summer.  Children using the library from any school could of course join in too by visiting a library.  In total, 43,000 books were read and children participated in the Challenge 27,500 times.

Child holding a Gadgeteers certificate and glider with a medal.

2022 has been a year dedicated to young people. ‘Our Year 2022’, which is part of our journey to become a UNICEF UK Child Friendly City.  A child friendly city is one where Children’s Rights are celebrated and recognised.