Wiltshire Council libraries are celebrating National Bookstart Week with rhyme times and other free fun activities to encourage families to read together.

The event, from 4-10 June, is an annual project launched by the reading charity, BookTrust. It gives every child in the country a free reading pack in the first year of their life and again when they are 3-4 years old.

Wiltshire Council’s Library Services run Bookstart in the county, ensuring that every child receives their book pack. The theme this year is Bookstart Bird Boogie.

Children who attend library activities will receive a free copy of the picture book A Busy Day for Birds by Lucy Cousins. There are also activity sheets for children.

Many libraries will feature Bookstart Bird Boogie themes in their regular rhyme times, and some, including Bradford on Avon and Trowbridge, are holding special sessions.

Bradford on Avon library hosts a Baby Day on 6 June, with sessions including baby massage, baby yoga, advice from the Real Nappy Network and a health visitor drop-in. Some of these sessions need booking.

Trowbridge stages a story and rhyme time session for under-fives on 7 June followed by a colouring activity in their soft chill-out zone. Children are encouraged to dress in bright colours.

John Thomson, Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for libraries, said, “We look forward to welcoming families into our libraries during this special week to share a love of stories and rhymes, which hopefully will inspire them to continue to have fun reading at home.”

Diana Gerald, chief executive of BookTrust, added, “Shared reading and encouraging reading for enjoyment from a young age can inspire a lifelong love of reading. Those children who read for pleasure are more likely to be happier, healthier and do better in life than those who don’t.”

Families can visit their nearest library to find out more about their local National Bookstart Week event.

If families are unable to make it along to their local event, they can join in the fun at home, with plenty of arts and crafts and games activities on the Bookstart website at www.booktrust.org.uk/supporting-you/families/our-programmes/bookstart/

Rhymetimes and special activities in Wiltshire Libraries
(For babies and toddlers unless stated)

4 June
Devizes 10.15-10.45am (action time for crawlers/walkers); 11.15-11.45am (baby rhyme time)
Warminster 2.15-2.45pm

5 June
Malmesbury 10.30-11am (babies)
Melksham 10.30-11am
Pewsey 11-11.30am
Salisbury 10.30-10.50am (babies); 11.15-11.35am (toddlers)

6 June
Bradford on Avon – Baby Day
9.30–11am and 1–3pm: Health visitors drop-in
10–11am: Real Nappy Network drop-in
Noon–1pm: Baby massage (booking required)
1–1.45pm: Baby yoga (booking required)
2pm–2.30pm: Baby signing (booking required)

Chippenham (We Sing Wednesdays) 10-10.30am (babies); 11-11.30am (toddlers)
Corsham 10-10.30am
Marlborough 11-11.30am
Trowbridge 10-10.30am (toddlers)

7 June
Bradford on Avon 10.30-11am (toddlers) and 11.30am-noon (babies)
Melksham 10.30-11am
Trowbridge 10-10.30am (babies)
Trowbridge – special rhyme and storytime 11-11.45am (under fives)

8 June
Amesbury 11-11.30am
Calne (Noisy Friday) 9.45-10.15am (babies); 10.30-11am (under fives); 11.15-11.45am (toddlers)
Corsham 10-10.30am (toddlers); 11-11.30am (babies)
Devizes 11-11.30am
Malmesbury 10.30-11am (toddlers)
Mere 10-10.30am
Royal Wootton Bassett 10.30-11am (babies); 11.15-11.45am (toddlers)
Salisbury 2-2.30pm
Trowbridge 10-10.30am (toddlers)
Westbury 10-10.30am (babies); 11-11.30am (toddlers)