Find Your Talent: Libraries’ unique contribution “Culture enriches lives…As well as being valuable and enjoyable in its own right, participation in cultural activities also gives young people the chance to develop important life skills such as creativity, confidence, self-discipline, effective communication and the ability to work in teams. ….the intrinsic right of all children to have the opportunity to develop their talents to the full” Find Your Talent prospectus, 2008 Every Find Your Talent pathfinder is required to involve libraries as a creative provider, with a local offer to children from 0 to 19 which includes: “opportunities to engage creatively with library and archive services taking part in theatre and dance performances producing a piece of creative writing, taking part in a reading group, or listening to authors talk about their work” Find Your Talent prospectus, 2008 Libraries contribute to a full cultural offer that involves: Learning in and about culture – helping young people to develop as informed and reflective spectators, participants and creators in the cultural world around them Learning through culture – using engagement in culture to boost creativity, attainment and personal development. Reading is creative Reading is: The ultimate aspiration raiser and a powerful way to develop enquiring minds One of the most creative, accessible and cheapest ways of engaging with culture A way to develop self expression, self confidence, imagination and empathy Supports children’s learning, life chances and educational achievement A way into wider cultural experiences - lots of links to other art forms like drama. Libraries believe in the power of reading to change children’s lives. Reading, and in particular shared reading, provides new experiences, develops understanding and empathy, and expands horizons. Reading helps us cope with the world and teaches us about it and ourselves. We know it makes all other learning possible… Through libraries’ unique relationship to reading in all its forms, libraries can offer powerful routes to learning in, about and through culture. The National Year of Reading has been a great success – with over 2 million new library members; and libraries and reading featuring in the tabloid press, reaching literally millions. Libraries’ unique contribution Libraries offer a broad range of cultural opportunities, through: Creative spaces: welcoming, cheerful and inspiring environments where children and young people can read, browse and study, and take part in a creative activity. Creative reading and writing groups: such as manga groups, scriptwriting, performance poetry groups, which combine reading with readers’ interests; often in combination with other art forms like theatre, music or dance. Interesting projects for schools and libraries to look to for inspiration include Young Cultural Creators (libraries and other cultural forms including literature and illustration, working with museums and galleries) Get it Loud (a libraries music project for teenagers to form bands and perform in libraries) and groupthing social networking site exploring reading alongside new media. Storytelling and story sharing expertise: for all ages, abilities and communities; because hearing, telling and creating stories can result in powerful learning and personal growth. Some libraries and schools library services provide tailored story sacks, themed resources and costumes to support storytelling. Relationship with authors and illustrators: Libraries have strong relationships with local authors, illustrators, performers and creative producers, as well as links with national publishers through a partnership called Children’s Reading Partners, which can offer free author events and promotions through libraries. Library staff book knowledge: a passion for reading and creativity Local book awards and book prize shadowing schemes: working with children to review, debate and select books, inspiring their own reading and creative writing. Schemes are sometimes linked to broadcast media and digital content creation in partnership with schools and publishers through sites like www.groupthing.org and BookHeads. National awards include the BookTrust Teenage Prize and Carnegie-Greenaway. Powerful cultural partnerships: with local theatres, art groups and museums, to reach new readers and offer new services. Libraries also benefit from inspiring national partnerships through The Reading Agency; with the BBC, Channel 4, Orange, Costa, publishers, government departments such as DSCF and The Arts Council. Reading schemes: the Summer Reading Challenge works with schools to encourage independent reading. The Challenge is delivered nationally through over 4500 libraries, supported by an interactive website and an inspiring creative reading programme to keep children reading and talking about books though the summer. Creative volunteering: including peer reading and intergenerational reading support through local and national creative programmes such as the Summer Reading Challenge and HeadSpace sites for young people. Creative activities for families: and a chance for children to make a positive contribution (for example in selecting books and magazines for the library, and in helping to shape and lead creative reading groups and activities). Bookgifting: Libraries support book gifting schemes such as Bookstart, Booked Up, BookAhead and Boys into Books with storytelling, craft and reading based activities as well as expertise on creating positive reading experiences.