MORE than 1,200 babies in Hampshire have been given a library card as part of a council initiative.
Parents have been offered the chance to sign up their newborns at the same time as registering their births.
About one in five babies born in the county have been registered for the scheme since it was started in May last year.
Councillor Andrew Gibson, executive member for culture, recreation and countryside on Hampshire County Council, said: ’This is a wonderful initiative with our registration service to help place our libraries at the heart of family life.
‘It’s never too early to start enjoying books with your little one – introducing skills like listening and identifying shapes and colours before they can read.
‘Libraries are also much more than just places to inspire excitement about books. They are the hub of local communities, providing family activities such as baby rhyme time and story time as well as registration and health services, coffee shops and public internet access.
We’re very supportive of our local library and we’re keen for our daughter to use it when she’s older, not just for reading but activities like rhyme time.Jane Baker, mother
‘More and more families are choosing to sign up their newborns whilst registering the birth, and we hope they will enjoy the benefits of our libraries throughout their lives.’
Among the babies given a card was three-day-old Jennifer Baker, when she was registered at Winchester Register Office by parents Jane and Stephen.
Jane, from Otterbourne, said: ‘I think it’s a lovely idea.
‘We’re very supportive of our local library and we’re keen for our daughter to use it when she’s older, not just for reading but activities like rhyme time.
‘I think it makes it extra special that Jennifer has her own library card.
For more details, and to join your local library, visit www.hants.gov.uk/librariesandarchives/library/jointhelibrary.