Councillor David Pahlke surrounded by AVID READERS
THE Ipswich community is being asked to embrace and show their love of reading next year as the city supports a special national initiative.   Ipswich City Council Tourism and Libraries Committee Chairperson Councillor David Pahlke said the 2012 National Year of Reading aimed to raise awareness about the importance, relevance and benefits of reading in everyday life. 
“The 2012 National Year of Reading is an Australia-wide initiative through Library Associations and Libraries in partnership with educational organisations and other learning centres, to raise awareness and promote the benefits and importance of reading and literacy. “Recent research indicates that nearly half the Australian population struggles without the literacy skills to meet the most basic demands of everyday life and work. 
“Statistics indicate that 46% of Australians can’t read and understand newspapers, follow a recipe, make sense of timetables or understand the instructions on a medicine bottle.”  “Libraries across Australia, including the Ipswich Library and Information Service, will be partnering with writers, schools, publishers, booksellers, child care providers, health professionals and other organisations to help people discover and rediscover the magic of books and reading.  “Our Ipswich libraries are involved because at the heart of the library service is the concept that everyone in the community has free access to information and reading resources for growth. Self-improvement and self development . “None of these things of course are possible if someone is unable to read.”  
Cr Pahlke said the aim of the campaign was to make sure, by the end of 2012, that the Ipswich community knows how important reading is to the city’s social, educational and economic reasons.  “We want Ipswich to become a city of readers.”   Cr Pahlke said the year would be officially launched simultaneously across Australia on February 14, 2012 and Ipswich would hold a similar event. A range of activities and events are planned including:
*   “Ready Together” – a joint program with Mission Australia and Crèche and Kindy targeting the multicultural community with storytelling and literacy sessions for children in preparation for school;
*    “Our Story” – a State-wide campaign to discover which books represent the true flavour of Australia.  Six books about Queensland or by a Queensland author have been shortlisted and are currently on display across the library branches in Ipswich. These can be borrowed and voted on by the community, through the library or online. The winning book will be announced at the State launch of the National Year of Reading in February next year and author tours are planned throughout the year;
*    “The Reading Hour” – an Australia-wide call to action to encourage all Australians to take a break and read something for themselves or read to their children.  A special “reading hour” will take place during Book Week in August; 
*    “Book 2.0 – Beyond Print” – scheduled to take place during Adult Learners Week in September, this will be an opportunity for the community to become familiar with the latest mobile devices on which they may read a book or search the internet. A number of mobile devices will be demonstrated and available for the community to have some “hands-on” practise.
*     Sports Silhouettes – scheduled to take place during May 2012 as part of Library and Information Week, young people will be able to come to the library and find some great reads.
*     While they are there they can have their photo taken with well-known local sporting personalities. Silhouettes of these local heroes reading their favourite story will be on display and kids can come to a photo sessions to get a photo of themselves with their favourite sports star.
*    “SEEDS” (Supporting Early Education and Developing with Stories) – This literacy program in partnership with Mission Australia will target young parents and aims to help them develop skills to ensure their baby develops good literacy skills and;
*    City of Readers competition – this will be a year long competition with a monthly prize for the library member who borrows the most books.  To keep track of the amount of reading happening across the city, the Ipswich Library and Information Service will set a target for the number of loans for the year which will be measured via an in-house thermometer at each service point.
Cr Pahlke said a number of the activities planned as part of the year were still in the planning stage with some details yet to be finalised.  “We will be promoting activities to the community as they are organised but rest assured that the Ipswich Library and Information Service will be an active participant in this vital year and hope that the local community will also embrace the National Year of Reading.”

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