Libraries are open to everyone for exploring stories, books and rhymes
Libraries are open to everyone for exploring stories, books and rhymes

Off the shelf – working with libraries

Libraries and Bookstart are such perfect partners - all Bookstart packs contain a gift of two wonderful books, but the gift of an invitation to join the library provides access to thousands of books for grown-ups and children. Together Bookstart and libraries can set a child on the journey of a lifetime – a love of books and learning!

Karen Wilkinson
Bookstart Coordinator for Wakefield

How do we work together?

Library authorities coordinate the local partnerships and administer the Bookstart scheme. Our message is enhanced by promoting library membership and rhyme and story sessions. Together, we ensure that the packs are a first step in loving books and helping families to enjoy reading together every day.


Bookstart Rhymetimes

We loved getting new books and read every day. We come to Rhymetime every week and my son sings the songs at home and likes to flick through the Rhymetime folder. We're very lucky to have the Bookstart packs.
Polly Jones, Totnes

These informal learning opportunities are great fun for children and for parents and carers. Libraries promote their range of services, and signpost families to other schemes such as family learning groups.

Parents and carers, whose first language may not be English, become familiar with the songs and rhymes, and Rhymetimes also help many first-time parents who may have forgotten the songs they sang as children. Their popularity continues to grow and many library authorities are increasing the number of sessions they offer.

Find out more about Bookstart Rhymetimes



Find Rhymetimes sessions in your area




Bookstart Bear Club

Megan gets so excited when we've collected enough stickers to get the next certificate.
Parent, Lincolnshire

The Bookstart Bear Club is the fun and free membership reward scheme for all babies, toddlers and preschoolers.


Running in over half the local authorities in England, with more signing up all the time, the Club offers families the chance to get rewards when their child shares stories, books and rhymes in their local library. Children who join the Club get a stamp in their Passport every time they take part in a Bookstart Bear Club activity, and after six stamps they are rewarded with a certificate.


With ten certificates to collect, it's a great way for families to get more from their library, and for libraries it's a great way to encourage families to come back time and again.


Find out more about the Bookstart Bear Club