Morrisons Little Library – Free Book Borrowing for Children
Morrisons Little Libraries bring the joys of reading to children from all backgrounds
For children’s author Rebecca Smith the fact that there are homes where books are unavailable, and where children have never enjoyed a bedtime story, to be really heart-breaking. She thought, “Stories change lives. Every child and every parent should have access to that experience.” Consequently, she decided to approach Morrisons on the possibility of the company helping to promote children’s literacy.
The supermarket chain immediately recognised yet another way to support its mandate to make good things happen and bring hope to the nation.
Just as its postcard campaign encouraged customers and school children to cheer friends and family by sending them messages and the sunflower seeds give-away let customers look forward to seeing cheerful sunflowers grow, so providing books to children would help them to bloom, too. Morrisons, the company that evolved from a market stall to become a national supermarket chain, is a company that knows how to germinate, bloom, and grow.
CEO David Potts recognised that many children do not have access to books of their own. “That’s why we’re launching Morrisons Little Library – so every child has a chance to enjoy reading and brighten their future,” he says.
Morrisons Little Libraries are book exchanges being set up in stores across the country where books can be provided free to parents and children. Morrisons customers are encouraged to bring in books they no longer need so that free books can be made available to everybody, especially families where money is too scarce to invest in books for their children.
Open University and the National Literacy Trust both support and have become involved in the project, knowing from their own research that reading helps children beyond achieving the academic levels expected of them. It supports them emotionally; expands their horizons; stimulates their imagination and helps them on their way to reaching their full potential.
Professor of Education Literacy at The Open University, Teresa Cremin was enthusiastic about working with Morrisons and reflected, “Reading benefits children and young people in so many ways and is especially vital after such a difficult and disruptive year, as it creates a safe space to escape and learn.”
In an associated children’s literacy campaign, Morrisons is publishing 50,000 copies of Cedric the Seed by Danielle Corrigan from Saddleworth, Lancashire. Danielle began writing positive stories for children last year while home-schooling her own children. She was inspired by the way the pandemic has changed our lives so abruptly and created Cedric who is a little sunflower seed, separated from his friends and family and feeling the way so many children – adults, too – have been feeling during the lockdown. But, when he begins to grow, he finds those friends and family were there all the time.
Morrisons Community Champions will be distributing copies of the book to community groups and schools with the objective of getting them to children who would otherwise never be able to read the inspiring story of Cedric as he finds adventure and experiences friendship and fun. In another recently launched program, Morrisons Community Champions’ Little Sunshine Awards recognises people who have gone above and beyond, during the pandemic, to help their communities.
With sunshine and sunflowers, books and postcards, Morrisons is living up to its objective in making good things happen and giving us all hope.