At least that was the aim of the Books Council of Wales when they had the idea to foster the habit of reading for pleasure in Wales. Launched in 1961 as a charity, the Books Council of Wales helps support the publishing industry in the fields of editing, design, marketing and distribution. It also gives out grants on behalf of the Welsh Government to support literary and magazine publishing in both English and Welsh.
The Books Council of Wales recognises and celebrates the benefits associated with reading. They believe that by establishing a robust community of diverse readers, our creative industries will flourish.
As a result, it plays a big role in the future of publishing in Wales – namely, as the national body for the promotion and cultivation of reading for pleasure in both languages. It’s through this aim that the #LoveReading programme was officially founded in 2017. But what does the project do and how does it do it?
#LoveReading aims to nurture the development of readers of all ages. It does this through a wide variety of campaigns; annual prizes such as the Tir na n-Og Award, which celebrates the best in children’s literature; and activities and challenges.
Many of the campaigns that fall under the #LoveReading banner encourage children to read books for enjoyment both in and out of a school environment.
In school, there are many activities and challenges that they can get involved in. These include Bookslam – the annual book reading competition where students can win prizes for their school while discussing books they’ve read. Then there are resources such as creative worksheets and dedicated reading lists for each key stage with a curated collection of stories and books available to download. On top of that, the Books Council of Wales works in partnership with UK-wide celebrations of reading, including World Book Day in March.
Children can also take part in ‘meet the author’ sessions where novelists and children’s writers visit schools to talk about their books.
And online, there’s a collection of YouTube videos where authors and famous Welsh faces – including Lucy Owen and Eloise Williams – talk about how they started reading, why they enjoy it and what their favourite books were growing up.
Vital to the #LoveReading campaign is the message that reading is a rich part of everyday life and something the whole family can enjoy together. To encourage reading outside of term time, the Books Council of Wales partners with The Reading Agency to run a Summer Reading Challenge, which is delivered by public libraries. It encourages families to visit their local libraries and borrow books to receive incentives and complete a challenge.
For adults, including those who may feel under-confident with reading or have lost the reading habit, there are campaigns such as Quick Reads, which are affordable, bite-sized books available in various genres.
The support we provide to the Books Council of Wales is crucial and enables this important work to be delivered to children, young people and adults across Wales. The aim is that this campaign will continue to inspire a love of reading and help widen access to reading materials with regular book-gifting campaigns.
Want to find out more about the work of the Books Council of Wales? Visit their website.