New book service for the disabled

A series of specialist Bookstart packs are available in Nottinghamshire libraries to support families of children with disabilities and/or who have additional needs.

Bookstart is a national early intervention literacy programme which offers free books and parental guidance materials to babies, toddler and pre-school children to inspire a love of reading.

The programme is managed by the independent charity Booktrust, and is delivered across Nottinghamshire’s libraries by the county council.

Coun John Knight, Culture Committee Chairman at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “Research has shown the positive role that Bookstart can play in early child development as the programme aims to promote and encourage the sharing and reading of books in the home.

“It is great news that every family of a new baby received a Bookstart pack during the last 12 months and it is also useful to know that there are special packs for children with additional needs which are available in our libraries or through health visitors.”

The following packs are also available in county libraries:

• Bookshine packs for children who are deaf:

There are two Bookshine packs available – Bookshine Baby (aged 0 to 2 years old) and Bookshine (aged two to four years old). Both packs contain two board books, a booklet of advice about sharing books with deaf children. It also features a book suitable for older children and a special bookmark that uses British Sign Language to sign key words from the story.

• Booktouch packs for children who are blind or partially sighted:

There are two Booktouch packs available – Booktouch Baby for babies (0-2 years old) and Booktouch for older children (two to four years old). These include touch and feel books, a booklet for advice about sharing books with blind and partially sighted children, and a book guide listing lots of other books. The Booktouch pack also includes a book suitable for older children, a noisy touch-and-feel book fun with a fun interactive story.

• Bookstart Star is a new pack aimed at children who are 2-4 years of age who have a condition or disability that impacts on, or delays their fine motor skills. The pack includes two books that offer touch and feel exploration and finger puppets for storytelling fun. The packs also include additional advice and guidance tips plus further book suggestions.

• Bookstart also has a number of dual language books for children who speak English as a second language who are entitled to free dual language books in Bookstart packs.

Progress of the Bookstart scheme will be discussed at a meeting of the county council’s Culture Committee on April 1.