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‘Book in Every Backpack’ Project Scoops Another Award

17 December 2010

Upper Hutt Library’s ‘Book in Every Backpack’ project scoops another prestigious award

Upper Hutt Library’s ‘book in Every Backpack’ project was awarded the 3M Award for innovation in Libraries at the LIANZA Conference 2010 in Dunedin. The award promotes excellence and innovation in Library and Information services and recognises the projects outstanding success at making a positive long lasting impact upon the Upper Hutt community.

Delivered in partnership with 12 Upper Hutt schools, the project has gone from strength to strength since its inception 18 months ago. The project aims to give every child in Upper Hutt City an opportunity to join the library and visit on a regular basis, regardless of their circumstances. The children are presented with a library card and bag.

Upper Hutt City Library is the first Library in New Zealand to design a programme with the intent to join every Upper Hutt primary school aged child up as a member of the Library, without exception. Eighteen months into the project, almost all primary school children in Upper Hutt now have library membership and access to the library.

“It’s exciting to receive this award for our innovative project that encourages our younger members of our community to visit the library” said Mayor Wayne Guppy.

Earlier this year the project was awarded the community relationship category award at the 2010 New Zealand Post Group Local Government Excellence Awards at the SOLGM Annual Conference in Queenstown.

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The awards $4,000 prize money will be invested in this year’s Summer Reading Programme for Upper Hutt children aged 5-12 years.

The programme also allows for visits to the Central, Pinehaven or Mobile Library to be organised through the schools, during school time, therefore ensuring children receive Library visits over a school term, regardless of whether their caregiver/parent can take them to the Library. The project aims to remove barriers encountered by children when trying to access library membership and services and help to foster a life-long love of reading and learning.

Schools throughout Upper Hutt have seen the projects benefits for both their school and the library alike and have embraced the project with great enthusiasm. Maureen van der Heyden, Head of Junior Syndicate at St Joseph’s School said: “having regular visits to the Library and having a Librarian read to the children really enhances their perception of reading for leisure and not just because it’s an activity you do at school”. Jeanette Reid, Deputy Principal at Upper Hutt School said that: ‘for some children it is the only opportunity they get to visit the Upper Hutt Library. I heard a year 6 boy say recently that his dad’s always too busy to take him to the Library. We love our visits!”

For more information on the project visit


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