Parents are signing up their babies to their local library at the same time as registering their births, as part of a new Hampshire County Council initiative.
In the past year, 1,267 new babies have received their very own library cards from Hampshire Library Service after visiting Hampshire Registration Service. The voluntary scheme has seen around 20% of all babies registered in Hampshire join the Library Service since May 2016.
Councillor Andrew Gibson, Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside, said: “This is a wonderful initiative with our Registration Service to help place our libraries at the heart of family life. It's never too early to start enjoying books with your little one – introducing skills like listening and identifying shapes and colours before they can read.
“Libraries are also much more than just places to inspire excitement about books. They are the hub of local communities, providing family activities such as baby rhyme time and story time as well as registration and health services, coffee shops and public internet access. More and more families are choosing to sign up their new-borns whilst registering the birth, and we hope they will enjoy the benefits of our libraries throughout their lives.”
Three-day-year-old Jennifer Baker received her library card when her parents Jane and Stephen Baker were welcomed to Winchester Register Office to register her birth.
Jane, of Otterbourne, said: “I think it’s a lovely idea. We’re very supportive of our local library and we’re keen for our daughter to use it when she’s older, not just for reading but activities like rhyme time. I think it makes it extra special that Jennifer has her own library card.”
For more details, and to join your local library, visit www.hants.gov.uk/