The Latrobe Health Assembly is piloting an innovative early childhood development program to allow for safe and easy access to free reading material.
The Service Libraries project aims to get books in the hands of children easily, safely and at no cost by installing 10 bookshelves filled with children’s books in the reception areas of local service providers.
The project received financial support from AGL Loy Yang via its community grants program for the purchase of enough books to fill all 10 library shelves. All shelves were generously donated to the project by Officeworks.
Developed by the Latrobe Health Assembly’s Early Childhood Development focus group, the Service Libraries will act as exchange points where children can return their book on their next visit at any service provider hosting a bookshelf for a new one.
Latrobe Health Assembly Chair, Ms Tanya Rong explained “we are aware of several great initiatives aimed at getting kids and families reading such as Street Libraries which we helped facilitate locally in 2018. The benefit of the Service Library project is that we can provide easy and safe access to free reading materials where families are already visiting without weather, security and monitoring stock levels being a barrier”.
“The Latrobe Health Assembly is excited to be partnering with AGL Loy Yang and Officeworks on this rewarding project as we work towards improving child readiness to enter their school years” Ms Rong added.
Along with AGL Loy Yang’s financial support for this project, seven AGL Loy Yang employees volunteered to help get the project underway by labelling 500 children’s books and putting together the flatpack bookshelves, they even brought their own allen keys.
AGL Loy Yang General Manager, Nigel Browne, said AGL was committed to making a sustainable and positive contribution to the communities where we operate including the Latrobe Valley.
“At AGL, one of our values is to shape tomorrow and we view this program as an extension of that value. That’s why we are happy to support the Health Assembly’s aim to improve childhood literacy by increasing access to free reading material for children and their families in the Latrobe Valley community.”
The project currently has all 10 library shelves allocated to local service providers within the Latrobe Valley. We will be announcing the participating locations once the libraries have been positioned. In the meantime, you can follow this project and find a location near you by visiting www.healthassembly.org.au/servicelibraries.
Photo credits from L – R: Kate Mallia, Scott Te Paa, Shaun Mallia, Kaylene Evans, Gary Stevens, Jillian Welzel, Tanya Rong