Arts Council of Wales funds new reading scheme

18 March 2002, United Kingdom

The Arts Council of Wales announced funding of GB£300,000 at the Welsh Libraries Conference in Llandrindod earlier this month, to a consortium whose scheme, 'Branching Out', aims to get more people reading and increase book-borrowing from libraries. Led by the Welsh Library Association and the Society of Chief Librarians Wales, the project being the first of its kind, involving all of the country's 22 local authorities. Reading will be promoted across age groups and societal sectors, with a particular focus on areas of deprivation, and the Branching Out scheme will also attempt to address the decline in adult borrowing by developing reading activities specific to that group. Arts Council of Wales Chief Executive, Peter Tyndall stated that 'the grant will enable the appointment of a Co-ordinator to work with all local authorities to highlight the extraordinary range of literature which is available both in English and Welsh and other languages, too. The scheme will also turn librarians into advocates for literature, by providing training for library staff, enabling them to develop their networking skills to work better with publishers, booksellers and the media.' Other groups supporting the 'Branching Out' scheme include the Welsh Books Council, Welsh Academy, the University of Wales and the National Library for the Blind.