Liverpool parents are being encouraged to help their children’s love of reading take flight with a special library card.

Next week, Liverpool City Council’s Libraries and Information Services, in partnership with Edge Hill University, launches the My First Library Card for children aged up to 10 featuring a friendly liver bird design created by the council’s marketing team.

Sponsored by Edge Hill University, the My First Library Cards have been developed as part of Liverpool’s Year of Reading and will be available from Monday 28 September.

To sign their little ones up to the library, parents or carers can either:

• Visit a library taking along proof of name and address (utility bill, bank statement). Please note: not all of Liverpool’s libraries have reopened. For up-to-date information please visit www.liverpool.gov.uk/libraryupdates. Central Library is currently open Monday-Friday, 10am-3pm.

• Sign up online. My First Library cards will automatically be sent out to young new joiners. Cards can also be collected.

The cards not only let children borrow books from any of Liverpool’s 19 libraries, but by using the card’s number along with a PIN young borrowers can also borrow any of the thousands of titles via Read Liverpool – www.readliverpool.co.uk – the city’s digital library.

Digital books can be accessed using many types of devices including iPads and some types of Kindles.

Read Liverpool has seen the number of digital books borrowed as well as the number of digital borrowers double since Liverpool’s libraries closed due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.

You can follow what’s happening in the Year of Reading by visiting the project’s website, join its Facebook page – www.facebook.com/2020LiverpoolYearofReading/ – or search #LiverpoolReads on social media.

Dr Helen O’Keeffe

Dr Helen O’Keeffe, Associate Dean in the Faculty of Education, Edge Hill University said:

“We are delighted to be sponsoring ‘My First Library Card’ as part of our ongoing support for Liverpool City Council’s Year of Reading.

The global events of 2020 have reminded us of the contribution reading makes to all of our lives, but particularly for children and young people for whom reading opens so many doors and breaks down so many barriers. It has proved to be a lifeline for children, who have been enjoying reading both for pleasure and to engage with their education through these difficult times.

“We want to ensure that all children in the City can access physical or digital books via Liverpool libraries and these cards will allow that to happen. Edge Hill University is proud to be working in partnership with Liverpool City Council to make such a positive difference across the City.”

Cllr Barbara Murray, cabinet member for Education, Employment and Skills, and Liverpool’s Year of Reading lead said:

“We’re delighted to be launching the My First Library card this week.

“One of our main commitments during the city’s Year of Reading has not only been to improve literacy in the city, but to encourage children to love reading as early as possible which will not only bring joy throughout their lives but will unlock knowledge, opportunities and give them confidence as they grow up.

“We’re slowly reopening our community libraries but that doesn’t mean that youngsters can’t get their hands on thousands of brilliant titles through the digital library. We’ve seen the number of books borrowed as well as the number of borrowers double since lockdown and we’ve been adding lots of new titles for everyone over the last six months.”