Written by Andy Parker, Better World Books Acquisitions Representative.
Leeds Libraries were one of the recipients of our literacy grants in 2014. I went to visit Armley Library in May to see how their Reading Together group was coming along. Reading Together is a group for asylum seekers and refugees.
Lyn Banbury runs the group at Armley; Lyn also helped to write the LEAP application. The first thing that struck me about Lyn was her passion for literacy and learning–precisely what is needed to enable a positive impact. The LEAP funding does nothing without the commitment of people like Lyn.
Reading Together is now an established group for asylum seekers and refugees, encouraging reading aloud from a variety of books bought with the LEAP grant. As I observed the session at Armley Library, I was particularly buoyed by the social impact of this group–the confidence that improved literacy can provide in everyday situations that many of us take for granted. The attendees took it in turns to read from White Death by Tim Vicary. We chatted in between readings and answered any questions the group had. Later, the group read the poem, “Everyone Sang”, by Siegfried Sassoon, from The Nation’s Favourite Poems.
I left the library knowing that LEAP is making a difference and will continue to do so in 2015 and beyond. This particular LEAP grant will have a small but meaningful legacy within Leeds communities. Reading Together has also given the librarians new ideas about similar groups for the future and the books that were bought with LEAP grant funds will be used time and time again.