CHILDREN throughout Renfrewshire are to be introduced to the new Bookbug character in a bid to get them reading more often.
With the support of the Scottish Government, bosses at the Scottish Book Trust have developed a new book-gifting programme which firmly links into educational and parenting policies.
The Trust’s new Early Years Programme, formerly known as Bookstart in Renfrewshire, is being rolled out at local libraries.
The core format of the programme in Renfrewshire – including 5,200 free packs of books for babies, toddlers and children up to primary one age, as well as free Bookbug sessions – will stay the same.
But new benefits have been introduced, including bespoke packs, improved parental guidance and an overall greener programme under a brand new Scottish identity.
As part of the celebrations, several Renfrewshire libraries will be holding special Bookbug parties to which parents and children under the age of five are welcome.
The first of these takes place on Wednesday, October 20, in Foxbar Library, Paisley, starting at 11am.
It will be followed by an event in Johnstone Library on Wednesday, October 27, starting at 10.30am.
On Monday, November 1, Ferguslie Park Library in Paisley is the place to be at 10am and the final party will take place at 10.30am on Thursday, November 4, in Bishopton Library.
Parents will be introduced to Bookbug’s Library Challenge, which encourages toddlers to choose from hundreds of suitable picture books.
The new Bookbug identity has been created by Scottish author and illustrator Debi Gliori and replaces the Bookstart Bear as the face of the book-gifting programme.
Marc Lambert, of the Scottish Book Trust, said: “Working together under the fantastic new identity of Bookbug, we will send the message out far and wide that reading with your child in early years is one of the greatest gifts a parent or carer can bestow.”
Jenifer McFarlane, Renfrewshire’s libraries manager, is confident the improvements to the programme will strengthen its impact on children and parents, with the continued aim that more mums and dads will be reading more often with their children.
She added: “It has been proven that babies and toddlers who are exposed to books on a regular basis are further ahead in reading, writing, numeracy and listening skills when they reach school.”