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PASSIONATE Leicester librarians have shared their views on the importance of books and libraries in the community to mark ‘World Book Day’.

Matthew Vaughan, librarian and manager of reading programmes for Leicester City Libraries, met with Pukaar News at the city’s Highfield Library to celebrate ‘World Book Day’ (March 3), sharing his lifelong love of books and passion to promote to use of libraries within the local community.

“I think books have a really important role – there’s no better way to get out of your life and into somebody else’s life and to understand other experiences through well written fiction,” he said.

“I’ve usually got at least three books on the go at any one time, usually some fiction, often some reference material – I’m a bit of a geek so I like a bit of philosophy and pop-science stuff,” he added.

“I was always read to from a very early age and that’s something that we in libraries encourage parents to do, share books with their children – they’re never too young.”

Mr Vaughan said that in recent years, there has been a national trend in the number of adults loaning out books from local libraries, although prior to the pandemic, children’s loans were stable and doing “really well.”

“We’re working really hard to recover our services,” he revealed.

“Libraries are about far more than just books, they’re a meeting place, they’re a social hub and one of the few places you can actually walk into for free and nobody expects you to spend any money.

“My main message on World Book Day is get down to your local library, borrow some books, dress up as your favourite character and just enjoy reading in whatever way suits you.”

Picture: Pukaar News

Kirsty France, neighbourhood service assistant/librarian was busy making a display of classic children’s book characters in order to encourage young readers to pick up books in Highfield’s library, which is one of the most widely used libraries in the city.

“Reading’s so important for nearly everything you do when you get older,” she said.

“I always read a book with my toddler in the evenings- it’s something special that we do as just us two and it’s that bonding thing as well – stories really can bring people together.

“Alot of the Roald Dahl’s and Harry Potter books hold a very special place in my heart so I’ve included those. I grew up reading those as well as Tracey Beaker,” she continued.

“I listen to a lot of audio books now, but nothing will ever beat the feeling and the smell of an old book.”

Asked about her favourite book from childhood, Kirsty didn’t hesitate to reveal her book of choice.

“Definitely the Harry Potter series,” she said.

As for Matt, he pointed to the Maurice Sendak classic ‘Where the Wild Things Are’.

“I was probably a bit too old for ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ but I remember having that one on my shelf as a child,” he added.

“We also had the classic ‘Grimm’s Fairytales’; Three Little Pigs, Red Riding Hood and I loved them, although I was quite scared of the big bad wolf on the front cover and I wouldn’t go to sleep with that book in my room!”

By Louise Steel

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