Meet the seven year old keen reader already fundraising for his local library
Eight-year-old Drupta Vangapally from Whinmoor has raised £150 for new books after becoming concerned about the future of the Whinmoor Library in lockdown.
Drupta has been a member of Leeds Libraries from a young age, where he never leaves without an armful of books.
He decided to raise funds to buy new library books by reading his favourite authors online, and raised £150 from sponsors, which was matched by funding from Leeds City Council.
He has now been nominated along with his brother Reyansh for the Child Friendly Leeds Awards, in recognition of their contribution to making Leeds a child friendly city by supporting their local library.
Drupta said: “I love going to the library. My favourites are the Horrible Histories books, but I find it difficult to choose from the other books when there are hundreds and hundreds on the shelves.
“When the library closed during the lockdown, I was upset but I knew that it would open again, so I had the idea to raise money to buy some new books for other children to enjoy.
“I raised £150 by reading my favourite books online in return for donations, and Leeds Libraries doubled this.
“I got to choose all the new books, and I picked the sorts of books that my classmates would enjoy, such as Roald Dahl, Harry Potter and Horrible Histories.”
Councillor Mary Harland, Leeds City Council executive member for communities, said: “I would like to thank Drupta for his fantastic fundraising efforts for Whinmoor Library, which was then supported and extended by Leeds Libraries.
"He is a great example of how libraries can inspire and fire the imaginations of children of all ages. So, if parents haven’t yet registered their children with Leeds Libraries, I would encourage them to go along to their local library or sign up online.”
The books chosen by Drupta for Whinmoor Library have also been purchased for all the other libraries in Leeds by the council. His name is also included on book plates inside all the books that Drupta raised money to buy.
Last week marked National Libraries Week, and families in Leeds who haven’t already signed their children up are being encouraged to take advantage of what the library can offer, particularly in the wake of two years of interrupted schooling caused by the pandemic.
Research from the University of Leeds earlier this year found more than two-thirds of six-year-olds were a year or more behind their expected attainment level when they reached the end of year one.
Academics studied the impact of school closures during 2020 and 2021 on a group of about 450 of the youngest pupils in the city
The researchers expected the pupils to be reading at level seven by the end of year one, but only 32 per cent of children in the sample reached this level or higher – meaning 68 per cent of children were not reading at the expected level for their age.
Factors influencing children’s progress in reading included their starting level, which was the strongest predictor of their later level. School provision of resources also had an impact, with children who were provided with hard copy books making more progress.
Andrea Ellison, senior librarian at Leeds City Council, said: “Children can join the library for free as soon as they are born, and there are activities for babies and toddlers all the way up to teenagers and young adults.
"And with many families in Leeds now on a budget, our libraries are also fantastic places where children can simply spend time with their families, as well as enjoying events and activities that are either low cost or completely free.”
The week was marked across the region including in North Yorkshire where a talk at Filey Library from actor, musician and choreographer Tim Tubbs called Victorian Crime on the North-East Coast delved into the surprisingly dark and sinister side of Victorian seaside resorts.
Free beginner art sessions wereon offer at several libraries from local artist Wendi New who has experience of working with groups from a wide range of backgrounds.
And In celebration of National Poetry Day on October 6, Rodney Dimbleby from the Yorkshire Dialect Society hosted a talk at Ripon Library.