Our libraries are more than a place of books, computers and information; they unlock the joys of learning, foster friendships and provide social glue for a community – from the very young to the old.
Giving someone the ability to read and a love of stories are wonderful gifts to give a child, and is a present for life. That is what Bookstart aims to do.
Bookstart is run in Ealing by the Book Trust in partnership with the council. It is a national programme offering packs of free books to all children living in the borough before they start school as well as guidance materials to every parent and carer to encourage them to read to their babies and young children. The more they are read to, the more they progress.
Libraries in the borough host special story and rhyme sessions, and also hand out Bookstart packs – one tailored to babies, and another for young children aged up to four.
Sarabjit (pictured) took her son and daughter to the Bookstart Story Corner sessions at Southall Library.
She said: “I loved coming to the Bookstart sessions at the library. We attended as a family every week for five one-hour sessions. My son developed an interest in books and he was very pleased to receive the gift pack to take home, where he would retell the stories. I am making time for stories and rhymes with my children at home; now I know how important it is to be looking at books with them and talking to them about them. The library is a great resource. It is free and gives so much pleasure.”
LEARNING NEW SKILLS, MAKING FRIENDS
Residents can access a wide range of education opportunities from the comfort of their local library thanks to Ealing Adult Learning.
Courses enable learners to gain new skills or languages; pursue an interest or hobby; or improve their CV and career opportunities through courses such as ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) and functional skills in maths and English.
But it is good for you in other ways, too. It is also a great way to meet new friends and likeminded people. In fact, taking part in regular activities can be a really effective way of combating loneliness and the sense of social isolation that can affect some people, particularly those who are older.
An extensive programme of courses is delivered in venues around the borough, including our local libraries.
For example, among the subjects being taught at Acton Library are computing, social media marketing, textile crafts and creative writing; and West Ealing Library is running a project to create a mosaic for the community.
What is more, residents who enrol on an adult learning course before 20 December 2017 can get a 25% discount (subject to conditions). For a full list of courses and information on how to enrol, pick up a course guide from any library in the borough, or visit www.ealing.gov.uk/adultlearning
Children’s activities, including crafts and storytelling, will take place in our libraries throughout December. And a local history talk on Christmases past takes place on Tuesday, 12 December at Ealing Central Library. Visit www.ccslibraries.com/libraries/ealing-libraries to find out more.