Three weeks ago, the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL) launched their Bump Booster toolkit. I went along to the launch (at The Curve in Slough, also celebrating its 1 year anniversary that day) to find out more about it.
We heard from Sue Ball, Chair of ASCEL (and from Staffordshire library service), Lindy Elliot, Portsmouth Library and Archives Services Manager, and Diane Dixon from Dixon Associates who took us through the toolkit.
Bump Booster is a new online resource developed for ASCEL to help library staff support parents-to-be. It includes guidance for library staff, ideas for parents-to-be, and rhymes to sing to a bump (other music options are available).
Why Bump Booster?
Babies in the womb can hear their parents and the world around them. By singing and talking to their child before it’s born, parents can have an impact on their baby’s development. The toolkit focuses on 3 simple messages:
- Talk to your bump - your baby can hear you from 18 weeks (for the mother and 25 weeks for everyone else)
- Read to your bump - your baby remembers noises from the womb
- Bond with your bump - reading and singing to your baby helps you to bond with them
Bump Booster is one in a series of initiatives designed to help parents and children and to encourage them to become more active users of libraries. We know that having a library card does not make people active library members by default. As the Automatic Library Membership Pilots evaluation showed, ‘the accompanying outreach activities and library events were important factors in making membership real.’
ASCEL was commissioned by the Arts Council and the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) to research and identify what those interactions should be. Part of this included identifying the key interactions in a child’s library / reading life that are delivered by library staff, one of which is the prenatal to birth stage - promoting the benefits of reading and library use to parents-to-be and supporting reader journeys. The bump booster toolkit is designed to help library staff (and parents-to-be) with these steps.
Alongside the toolkit, 4 library services (Dudley, Leicestershire, Gateshead and Hertfordshire) have been carrying out pilot work with parents-to-be. An evaluation report will be published later in the year to show how it went and share the good practice which came from these pilots.