Duloch Library in Dunfermline has become the first library winner of a Reading Culture Award at the annual First Minister’s Reading Challenge Celebration Event.

The Fife public library picked up the prestigious Library Reading Culture Award last week for their work with both the Need to Read Junior Reading Group as well as their Book Doctors scheme. 

The group was started by Library Supervisor Lisa Penman in 2007 and has been meeting up once a fortnight ever since. A mix of pupils aged between eight and 11 attend from nearby schools with each member receiving the same title to read every second week. The group takes part in lots of different activities such as creating library displays, writing short stories and designing book covers.

For the First Minister’s Reading Challenge the group decided to provide recommendations to other young readers and Book Doctors was created.

Lisa explained: “The group was set up within the first year of Duloch Library opening and both were a massive success from the beginning. The local community really embraced the library, making it one of the busiest libraries in Fife. My inspiration on running these groups is for the enjoyment of both myself and the members. I take a real joy in seeing the children expand in their reading and confidence and have received great feedback in the past from parents. 

“Everyone loved the idea of the Book Doctors – listening to the reader’s preferences and providing recommendations via book prescriptions. I now hope to bring together the two junior book groups within the Dunfermline area – my own and one which runs at Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Museum. We’ve already planned a ‘Book Off’ where each member will pitch their favourite book of the year and then vote for a winning title, which will become Fife Cultural Trust's Junior Book of the Year. 

“I hope that I will be able to expand on this each year to invite other library-run junior reading groups in Fife to join in.”

Libraries & The FM Reading Challenge

It is the first time a libraries challenge has formed part of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge which aims to help children and young people between the ages of five and 18 develop a love of reading.  

A total of 19 schools and one book club were honoured alongside Duloch Library at the event in Glasgow’s DoubleTree Hilton on Monday. Prizes were awarded by Ross MacKenzie, author of The Elsewhere Emporium, while the Minister for Mental Health, Clare Haughey, joined the celebration event to present the Reading Inspiration Award.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I’m delighted that over 1100 primary schools, secondary schools, libraries and community groups from every local authority in Scotland participated in the third year of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge.

“My warm congratulations to all those who have taken part – the submissions demonstrate that Scotland really is a country of readers, and showcase the hard work of the pupils, teachers and librarians who were involved.

“I launched the reading challenge in 2016 to encourage reading for pleasure, which is key to raising attainment and improving literacy. Even more schools registered for it this year, and it was wonderful to see so many examples of how a shared reading culture can build and improve relationships within a community.”

A total of 1,195 groups registered for the First Minister’s Reading Challenge, a 20% increase in registrations from the previous year. The Challenge supports schools, libraries and communities across Scotland to develop reading cultures and give very child in Scotland the opportunity to experience the benefits – and the fun – of reading for pleasure.

For more information on the First Minister's Reading Challenge and how libraries can take part visit the FM Reading Challenge website.