Story telling shows youngsters the value of libraries with some families using lending service for the first time

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A storytelling festival has helped encourage more families to visit libraries in Blackpool and introduce their children to the joy of reading.

The festival organised by Blackpool Better Start in partnership with the council’s library service, family hubs, the Grundy Art Gallery and park rangers saw more than 200 families enjoy book-related fun.

Events included a live performance of ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ by Tram Shed Theatre Company at Central Library, puppet making with theGrundy Art Gallery and a nature activity with Blackpool Park Rangers.

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For 31 of the families, it was their first visit to a library with 23 saying they now planned to join the library with nine families doing so during the week.

Rhiann Rowles with daughter Maisie at the storytelling festivalRhiann Rowles with daughter Maisie at the storytelling festival
Rhiann Rowles with daughter Maisie at the storytelling festival

Claire Woodsford, early years advisory teacher at Blackpool Better Start, said: “The Storytelling Festival was a huge success with over 200 families attending throughout the week.

“It was wonderful to see so many families engaging with their babies and young children by reading stories to them.

“The aim of the festival is to support the development of early literacy skills and promote a love of books and reading by holding fun sessions like ‘The Gruffalo’ themed Park Rangers sessions to capture the imagination of young children.”

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Rhiann Rowles, who attended the Storytelling Festival launch event with her two-year daughter Maisie, said: “I’ve not been to Central Library before – what a great space for young children. Maisie loved listening to a story in the reading area.

Storytelling festival at Central LibraryStorytelling festival at Central Library
Storytelling festival at Central Library

“We really enjoyed the session as there was something for all little ones to get involved with, no matter how small they are. It’s been so interactive and the autumn sensory play with the park rangers was really fun and colourful.”

Blackpool family hubs also registered 11 new families following attendance at one of the events across the duration of the storytelling festival week.

The Better Start Early Years Literacy Team, provided a range of play opportunities based on the story of Goldilocks as well as providing an immersive imaginative play experience with props. All families received a free book from the Literacy Trust.

For further information on Blackpool Better Start free events for families with 0-4 year olds visit

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