Cllr Khatun and Sandy Bear in the CBeebies Bedtime Stories Chair

Sandwell libraries have been gifted one of the iconic CBeebies Bedtime Stories chairs thanks to a collaboration with BookTrust.

The chair will be located in Central Library, West Bromwich, for the next few months before being a tour around other libraries in Sandwell later this year.

CBeebies Bedtime Stories legacy reading corners are being introduced at libraries in Sandwell, Leeds, Blackpool, Hartlepool, Leicester, Brent and Somerset.

The partnership between BookTrust and CBeebies Bedtime Stories will see the iconic CBeebies Bedtime Stories yellow chair being permanently donated to Sandwell Libraries, along with CBeebies books, stickers, and merchandise.

Central Library will be holding regular story sessions where families will be able to see and have photos sitting in the legendary chair. Families are also encouraged to look out for special filmed storytelling sessions with some local children’s authors which will soon be available on Sandwell Council’s social media channels. 

Councillor Syeda Khatun MBE, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities, said: “It’s wonderful to see that Sandwell Library services are only one of seven library services in the country to be gifted one of the CBeebies Bedtime Stories yellow chairs.

“The chair will be an amazing addition to the services already offered by all our amazing libraries in Sandwell.”

Councillor Simon Hackett, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “I am delighted we have been selected to receive one of the CBeebies Bedtime Stories yellow chairs, and we look forward to working closely with the BookTrust to encourage young people to come to our libraries.

“The BookTrust do fantastic work inspiring and helping children feel confident reading. Reading is a crucial part of our children’s education and having the chair is a perfect opportunity for families to gather and share the joy that can be brought by reading. I hope many families will visit Central Library and take part in this unique reading experience and foster a love for books.” 

The CBeebies yellow chair will be available along with BookTrust Storytime, an interactive programme designed to encourage families to make library visits a regular part of family life.

Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust, said: “We’re thrilled to team up with CBeebies and our partners at Sandwell Council to create this one-of-a-kind library story time experience for families. Experiencing the fun first-hand at a library story time can be a crucial first step in encouraging more people to feel the library is a place they belong.

“Exploring new ways to engage families with the free reading support on offer at their local library is a key pillar of our work at BookTrust to help children from different backgrounds get the wide-ranging benefits that come from a love of reading. We hope young readers in Sandwell will come along to Sandwell's Central Library to check out the new reading corner and stay for a story."

The programme is part of BookTrust’s broader mission to support more experiences for families to enjoy reading, and to share the long-term impact reading can have on children’s development, wellbeing, progress at school, and life chances.

The locations were selected as part of BookTrust’s work with Arts Council England to test and develop new ways to inspire parents and children with a love of reading together and focuses on underserved areas.

Later in the year the chair will be appearing in other libraries across Sandwell. For more information visit Sandwell Library’s website.

Published: Wednesday, 20th March 2024