Librarian Ben has a story to tell to Westminster

Ben Lawrence addresses the House of Commons
Ben Lawrence addresses the House of Commons

Ben Lawrence has been sharing the joy of stories, songs and rhymes as Calderdale Council’s Early Years Librarian and Bookstart Co-ordinator to Westminster

He was invited to speak at a reception for MPs in the House of Commons, due to the success of the Council’s work to engage children with books, rhymes and songs from birth.

He talked about his role and the difference that libraries make to children and families across Calderdale.

The invite came from Booktrust – a national charity aiming to change lives through reading and were so impressed with Ben’s work to promote their Bookstart scheme in Calderdale that they asked him to talk at their event, which had the theme ‘Reading Together Changes Lives’.

Booktrust’s Chief Executive Viv Bird said: “We know that children who are read to every day will be almost 12 months ahead of their age group when they start school.

“This is why the work Ben and Calderdale Council help us to do is incredibly important, as they are making sure no child in Calderdale misses out on the life-changing benefits that reading can bring.

“When we were looking for a practitioner to explain the benefits of Bookstart and the work we do with families, Ben – who is an excellent role model for children of Calderdale – was an obvious choice. He is an enthusiastic and proactive coordinator who goes the extra distance to ensure his Bookstart Busy Babies sessions are beneficial to every family that attends them.”

Ben runs the popular Bookstart Busy Babies sessions in Brighouse, Halifax and Hebden Bridge libraries.

They feature songs and rhymes for families with babies and toddlers and take place throughout the year.

“Families across Calderdale can really benefit from the sessions,” said Ben.

“They are a great way for parents to interact and bond with their children whilst teaching them important life skills.

“Songs and rhymes are the perfect introduction for young children to the exciting world of language and literature. When youngsters see the grown ups around them singing, they are encouraged to sing along and do the actions, developing their communication skills, coordination and imagination. Being with other people in a relaxed environment helps their social skills and confidence.”