This month on the PLIF blog Diane Yule from Edinburgh City Libraries and Information Services talks about their Edinburgh Explorers project, which received money from our Public Library Improvement Fund in 2016.
Edinburgh Explorers encourages and promotes reading, literacy and independent learning for P1 – P7 children. It’s designed to signpost children and their parents/carers to free cultural spaces throughout the city and discover culture outside of the library.
Everyone who takes part is issued with an Explorer Passport to collect Visa Stamps of the places they visit. Book lists which tie in with locations and postcard reviews have all helped to encourage the use of these locations as free, fun family places to visit.
Since the initial launch of Edinburgh Explorers in April 2017 the number of venues taking part has gradually increased. Starting with popular venues like Gorgie Farm and The Museum of Childhood, we now have the National Museum of Scotland, Lauriston Castle, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the City Art Centre on board.
We have also worked extensively with Edinburgh Lothians Greenspace Trust, which helped to launch the project. Children visited the Nature Trail at Hailes Quarry Park as part of the launch, borrowing books from the nature themed display at Wester Hailes library and participating in daily nature themed craft sessions.
Following on from the success of the initial launch we decided to tie in Edinburgh Explorers with the Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge 2017. Wester Hailes, Ratho and Sighthill libraries all took part, with lots of families visiting Hailes Quarry Park to solve clues on the Nature Trail and find out more about local folklore.
Clovenstone Community Centre Playscheme took part in the challenge over the summer too. To help them document their participation we also offered them the chance to use the new film equipment we received as part of SLIC’s Film Education Project.
The challenge was a big hit and they plan to join us again next year – this time offering the more hesitant parents a chance to go with their children and build up their confidence.
Now we are all set for Edinburgh Explorers 2018, with venues like the National Museum of Scotland and the City Art Centre keen to stamp the log books of our intrepid explorers. Every venue also has an activity ready for would-be adventurers to enjoy.
Through consultations with local schools we’ve expanded our prizes packs, with lucky participants winning Edinburgh Explorer branded stationery, as well as copies of Greyfriars Bobby and the Gruesome Guide to Edinburgh.
We now plan for Edinburgh Explorers to grow year on year, with more libraries across the city getting involved as the project expands.