Parents struggle during lockdown without libraries

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A mum from Preston says it has been difficult to keep her kids entertained without libraries during lockdown.

Liz Forster, 37, and her three boys, Harry, 9, Ted, 7, and Sam, 2, regularly went to borrow books at their local library every Tuesday after school before lock down.

All 64 libraries in Lancashire closed their doors to the public at the end of March meaning families like Liz’s had to find other ways to stay occupied.

Liz said: “It’s really difficult to find safe places to take them to and engage them with activities.”

Without being able to get into libraries, Liz feels other children may be missing out on the chance to read.

Coming from a family of big readers, the boys also enjoyed the clubs and activities at the libraries, something that Liz didn’t have pay for.

She said: “It was a free place for people to go to.

“Any activity they do, costs me money.”

The recent easing of restrictions meant libraries could open for the first time since lockdown but Liz found it “difficult” to take her boys back.

She said: ““It’s really difficult to stay in the library due to restrictions with the baby because they’re kids and obviously, they don’t want to stay still.

“I’ve got three kids so any time we go anywhere there’s already four of us.”

Robin Crawsahw, Reading Development Manager for Lancashire County Council, has worked to help get libraries ready for visitors again and is looking forward to welcoming parents and children back.

https://twitter.com/LancashireCC/status/1310983929042817027

Mr Crawshaw said: “Libraries are incredibly important for promoting the benefits of reading to children.

“Not everyone can afford to buy books all the time, so it offers somewhere where there’s a huge selection of free books for children to build and explore interest.”

Being a parent himself, Mr Crawshaw understands the importance of libraries, allowing children to explore and build in their interests.

He said: “It’s really important that children have the access to the information that they can get from the library.

“We want to see as many customers come into the library as safely as we can.”

Click here to see the list of libraries reopened and the restrictions.