Big Green Bookshop Education CIC and Patron of Reading: Haringey Chapter were officially launched at Wood Green Central Library on Friday June 12th.
We had presentations from former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, children’s author Sam Enthoven, school librarian Gill Ward, and from Sean Edwards (Haringey’s Principal Librarian for Children and Youth). Around 50 teachers, writers, storytellers, librarians and other interested persons attended our launch, which was kicked off in fine style by an amazing group of Year 6 children from North Harringay Primary School.
We began with a lunch event for patrons of reading, hosted by Tim West. Existing patrons shared experiences and advice with prospective patrons. Meanwhile, Ian Coles helped pupils from North Harringay Primary prepare to interview the assembled patrons. They rose magnificently to the challenge, preparing intelligent questions and talking confidently with their interviewees.
North Harringay Primary opened the public launch event, presenting their thoughts on reading for pleasure and sharing insights gained by interviewing authors (for example, that even some well-established writers had not always enjoyed reading as children). Thanks to pupils and staff for a perfect opening presentation.
Tim West and Ian Coles then introduced the afternoon. Tim explained how Big Green Bookshop Education aims to set inspiration traps wherever possible – to capture children and young people’s enthusiasm, promote reading for pleasure and support literacy development. Ian described Big Green Bookshop Education CIC (BGBE) as a logical development of the Big Green Bookshop’s established role as a community bookshop. He thanked customers and friends for their support – financial and in-kind – to set up this new not-for-profit social enterprise.
Ian outlined how BGBE will promote reading for pleasure and support literacy development through 3 main activity strands: by co-ordinating Patron of Reading: Haringey Chapter (for at least 3 years); by supporting partnership projects (such as Haringey Children’s Book Award); and through our own literacy initiatives (such as our High Street Stories programme).
We then focused in on Patron of Reading: Haringey Chapter. Haringey has a wealth of world-class writers and inspirational educators – who all know how fantastically creative our children and young people can be – so we are confident that our local cluster of patrons of reading will make a huge contribution to promoting reading for pleasure in Haringey.
Michael Rosen (patron of reading at Earlsmead School) shared his passion for reading for pleasure and emphasised the value of this grass-roots initiative – owned by schools and patrons for the benefit of children and young people – in contrast to many top-down interventions. We are truly grateful to Michael for this inspiring keynote speech and for his ongoing support for Patron of Reading: Haringey Chapter.
Sam Enthoven (patron of reading at Alexandra Park School) shared his experiences of discovering reading for pleasure as an older child. Sam was the first new patron to be matched with a school by BGBE and he explained his ingenious Book Doctor service – and raised the flag for the Free Reading Manifesto he is developing with students.
Gill Ward (Librarian at Fortismere School) has done more than most to establish and promote the Patron of Reading scheme in Haringey. She spoke about her experiences with Sita Brahmachari – patron of reading for the last 5 years – and highlighted the benefits of the scheme for both schools and patrons.
Finally, Sean Edwards (Principal Librarian: Children and Youth, Haringey Libraries) outlined the wider initiatives underway to promote reading for pleasure in Haringey, such as the Summer Reading Challenge and Haringey Libraries extensive programme of author visits to schools. Sean received resounding applause for the news that all Haringey Libraries are to remain open.
The afternoon concluded with a busy networking session. We are confident that new relationships have been forged – and that we will be announcing more Haringey patrons of reading in the near future.
Our sincere thanks to Sean and Haringey Libraries for hosting our launch event – and to all who attended or expressed their support for Patron of Reading: Haringey Chapter and BGBE.