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Countywide

People return to county’s libraries after restrictions ease

Suffolk Libraries has been delighted to see so many people back in libraries again after the relaxation of COVID restrictions.

Last month The Big Catch Up campaign was launched to encourage people to come back to libraries and participate in the diverse range of activities and events like the Summer Reading Challenge.

So far 4,600 children have signed up for the Summer Reading Challenge in Suffolk in just over two weeks which is a fantastic start for this important annual literacy campaign.

There has also been plenty of interest from new customers with over 3,557 registrations for a library card in July 2021 – nearly 42% more than July 2019.

Since restrictions were removed on 19 July there have also been over 89,000 loans of books and other items from libraries. July also saw the Suffolk Libraries website receive its highest number of monthly views since it was launched.

This weekend also marked nine years since Suffolk Libraries became an independent charity on 1st August 2012.

Bruce Leeke, Chief Executive of Suffolk Libraries, said: “Although the pandemic stills presents many challenges for our communities, it’s really encouraging to see so many people visiting libraries. It’s also exciting to see so many new faces discovering the wonder of libraries and all they have to offer. The Summer Reading Challenge is particularly important this year as children’s education has been disrupted and libraries can play a key role in helping them catch up on their literacy skills.

“It seems unbelievable that our organisation is now entering its tenth year. I’m immensely proud of our colleagues and many volunteers and supporters for what they’ve collectively achieved, not least during the pandemic. We continue to play a key role in supporting and improving wellbeing in the community and we plan to play an even bigger role in the years ahead as society continues to recover.”

Suffolk Libraries continues to ensure libraries offer a safe and reassuring environment with face masks still encouraged and customers reminded to give one another plenty of space.

Children can still sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge for free at any Suffolk library. To support the Summer Reading Challenge theme of ‘Wild World Heroes’, libraries across Suffolk also have 2,000 seed bombs to hand out to children to help create a greener Suffolk. Thanks to the National Literacy Trust you can also now pick up free ‘Spy Mission’ activity booklets from libraries.

For more information about the reading challenge and events and activities in libraries visit www.suffolklibraries.co.uk/whats-on

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