Children’s author celebrates role played by libraries

THREE libraries in the region have been chosen from hundreds of applications to host a visit by Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson.

The author of 150 books including The Gruffalo is embarking on a national tour to highlight the importance of libraries as a “precious community resource” at a time when many are under the threat of the axe.

The 63-year-old author has used libraries since she was a child and penned a poem earlier this year in protest at closures.

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She will be appearing at at North Lincolnshire Central Library in Scunthorpe on Monday October 15, followed by Holt Park Community Library, Leeds the following morning, October 15, and Explore Library York in the afternoon.

She said: “Libraries are very close to my heart; not only do they provide a wonderful opportunity for adults and children to browse, borrow and engage with books, but they are also great community centres.

“This tour is my way of celebrating libraries, to highlight all that they do and offer – from lively baby and toddler Rhymetime sessions and book club discussions to calm spaces for study and contemplation – and to protest against the cuts and closures which are threatening so many of them.”

Schoolchildren from Scunthorpe Church of England Primary School will be attending the event, in which the author uses special dramatisations to bring stories alive. The children will also do their own performance for the author, who was appointed Children’s Laureate last year. All the events are for invited school groups only.

Her visit to the region comes at a time when some libraries are facing an uncertain future.

An eight-week consultation started on Monday into the future of Sheffield’s libraries with the council unable to rule out either closures or job losses.

Rotherham Council is also reviewing its library service, with the two least-used libraries, Kimberworth and Kimberworth Park, down for closure as part of plans to save £500,000. Under the proposals, some libraries will see their opening hours increase, but others will decrease.