In a Welsh Government press release the Minister said: "The link between library usage and literacy levels is well documented - over 42,000 children in Wales took part in last year’s Summer Reading Challenge which ran in 245 libraries across the country.
"Those children that took part maintained or improved their reading levels and we are hoping to build on this by giving every child the opportunity to use their library to borrow books and access all the other services available to them.”
Initially, this opt out scheme is being trialled by the Gwent, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Merthyr Tydfil, Powys and Swansea authorities but is planes for rollout across the country in the near future.
I was delighted to be asked to take part in the launch of the Every Child A Member initiative by visiting local libraries and meeting year four children from local schools, many bussed in from outlying areas. All the children received their new library cards and were then let loose to choose books to take home and read - as well as receiving a goody bag. As well as being able to talk about my own books it was great being able to read from and suggest books by other authors that they might like to read - John Dougherty's Stinkbomb and Ketch-up Face went down a treat.
Although many children were already members and keen users of the libraries they visited, there were many more that weren't. Some had never been to the library before. Will parents keep coming back to the library with their children? This has yet to be seen, but I can't help feeling that this is a late, but welcome start to getting children into the libraries. Without creating this link between children and libraries what hope is there for the future.