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New readers, new opportunities to read

Our vision is a world where everyone has access to books. To make that a reality, we know we must get people reading in their communities.

 In many countries, public and community libraries are strategically located to provide easy access to books by community members. But sometimes, these are still far from neighbourhoods for access to happen or the small charge to borrow books is too expensive.

At the same time, other community groups, run by NGOs or by faith based organisations, seek to introduce reading to their constituents through a range of activities for children, young people and adults. They want to run these reading activities in spaces more convenient to community members. The Community Reading Awards seek to provide the opportunity for children, young people and adults to find books closer to where they live – within neighbourhoods and outside of the formal library structures.

The programme funds the establishment of community reading activities, or ‘microprojects’, which make books accessible in neighbourhoods. Facilitated by local public and community libraries working in partnership with community groups, these programmes create opportunities for children, adults and especially out-of-school girls to read. 

Each microproject was a unique as the community it served. Innovation and creativity enabled readers who had previously had no access to books to engage with reading in their locale.

With the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery, in June 2021 we launched the first Community Reading Awards programme. 44 community groups joined forces with local Book Aid International library partners to submit applications, and we worked with AFLIA and other judges to select 14 winners. 

Librarians who led the microprojects managed funds, brokered new relationships, organised and delivered training – and they were able to witness new readers excited and enthused at the wonder of books.

The result is an exciting range of projects which have sparked new reading journeys for more than 7,000 people. We can’t wait to share the details in the coming months.

We know that there are still so many community groups with fresh, exciting ideas of how to get people reading and still so many people who aren’t yet regular readers. And so, we are delighted to announce that we will once again be running the Community Reading Awards in 2022. 

I look forward to reading more applications, and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to apply last year.


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