Covid pandemic: Why re-opening more of Edinburgh's libraries is vital – Nick Cook

Edinburgh's Central Library was one of six to re-open on October 6Edinburgh's Central Library was one of six to re-open on October 6
Edinburgh's Central Library was one of six to re-open on October 6
I’m full of admiration for the campaigning of footballer, Marcus Rashford.

He was right on the need to provide school meals to kids during forthcoming holidays and he is again set to do great work in partnership with Macmillan Children’s Books to improve reading amongst children. Rightly, those from underprivileged backgrounds will be prioritised.

Reading to your child from birth has been shown to increase their lifetime earnings by over £250,000 – making a huge difference to their quality of life and financial security in adulthood.

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For children, the developmental benefits are significant, helping toddlers to more quickly develop communication skills, speech capabilities and give a sound understanding of the world around them.

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I’ve read to my little girl since she was about ten days old. Two years on, evening storytime provides us with some quality bonding and opens up a world of learning, often for both of us!

But only around 20 per cent of new parents are said to read to their children for 20 minutes per day.

Not all families have the money needed to build up a bookshelf full of books. That is why initiatives like that from Marcus Rashford can make a big difference.

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But Edinburgh Council must urgently up its game, too. Eight months into the pandemic, still only a handful of libraries have been re-opened, depriving thousands of residents access to a world of literature.

I’ve made the point in the City Chambers and I make no apology for doing so again here – time for the council to get a move on.

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