I’ve been following Santa around the libraries. Sad, I know, stalking an old guy in an unconvincing beard. But it was encouraging in a bookish kind of way. I have to admit, I have always been a bit unconvinced by books for the newly-born, but not any more. By trailing Father C as he toured the under-5s parties, I suddenly got it. It’s all a question of focus.
The tiniest tots are brought into the library (there are sessions for under-5s throughout the year, not just when Santa’s around, as well as Bookstart Bookcrawls for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers), where they are surrounded by books. They are given books, which they can suck, pull around and throw, and all around are books they are not interested in, until…
Until they start to take notice of the pictures, the sounds the adults make as they look at the pictures, and so on. As they get to grips with language, those books down the other end of the library start to become relevant, so by the time they start at playschool, or preschool, or school even, they know where to go to get the gen and the fun.
Of course, they will also be able to reap the benefit of whizzy new online stimuli of which we can only dream. But they will still have the idea of books to give them a choice.
And in case you are worried – whether the sleigh is subject to the congestion charge is unclear from the legislation. Perhaps Boris will include a bill with his letter to Lapland.