Milford Haven Library, Pembrokeshire


Weekly Language and Play Rhymetime at Milford Haven Library

December 2009
Eleri Evans
Bookstart Coordinator, Pembrokeshire Libraries


Milford Haven Library has recently been relocated. Outreach, Access and Marketing Librarian and Pembrokeshire’s Bookstart Coordinator Eleri Evans wanted to introduce an initiative to attract new users to this new facility.

Reasons for setting up these sessions

  • Increase library visitor figures
  • Increase library issues
  • Show parents and children that sharing books, stories and rhymes, and visiting libraries, can be fun
  • Rhymetimes provide an opportunity to use music and rhymes to make storytime sessions more interesting and make it easier to engage with little ones and keep their interest
  • An opportunity for partnership working
  • Supports library service and corporate objectives


Format of the Sessions

The sessions involve a mixture of picture books, stories, songs, nursery rhymes, musical instruments and puppets
There’s usually a warm-up song to 'break the ice' and then songs, rhymes and stories are linked to a theme such as pirates, the jungle or farm animals
There’s a lot of activity and a combination of musical instruments, songs, rhymes, stories and actions are used to engage with grown ups and little ones

Have those attending these sessions become regular library users?

Some of the group were library users before the project started, others would not have come to the library if it had not been for these rhymetimes. Both adult and junior issues have increased since these sessions were introduced.

Positive Outcomes

  • The sessions have attracted people who would not otherwise have used the library service
  • Library issues and membership have increased
  • These activities provide an opportunity to promote Bookstart and Bookcrawl
  • These sessions encourage bonding between parents and children, and show that they can have fun together using stories, songs, rhymes, musical instruments and books
  • Parents get involved in the sessions – feedback is always positive
  • Children and parents gain confidence – these sessions support their learning potential
  • Close partnership working with Language and Play Team


Benefits of Partnership Working

  • Partnership working provides opportunities for:
  • Providing what  families and children say they want
  • Accessing a wide range of services
  • Accessing services not previously available
  • Providing easier and quicker access to services and expertise
  • Improving educational attainment
  • Providing better support for parents
  • Providing better quality services


Main Ingredients for Success

  • Promotion: making sure that people know that these sessions are fun, to help the initiative to promote itself
  • Publicity: all staff try to make use of every opportunity to promote these sessions (personal contact/circulating posters and leaflets around appropriate venues). Sessions have been promoted on the local radio station and the local press has run articles to advertise the project
  • Persistence: keep going even though numbers attending may be small at first
  • Flexibility: adapting sessions based on what people like and enjoy
  • Staff: making sure that staff involved enjoy the activity and are able to ensure that people feel welcomed, that they have had a good time, enjoyed their experience and want to come back