School holidays in my neighbourhood - and probably over most of the UK - are heralded by the parental cry, 'What to do with the kids?'
Those lucky enough to have retired parents who dote on the little ones are truly blessed. But for most, the answer from Dover to Durness seems to be to turn on the telly. The negative effect, the waste, of hours and hours before the box doesn't seem to be considered.
|Read and win ... Escape with a good book, urges this positive library group|
It's about easy answers, about parental escape.
However, a far better idea comes from a library 11,800 miles from London.
The Summer Reading Challenge, sponsored by Southland District Libraries, almost as far south as you can go in New Zealand, well, in the inhabited world, is a marvellous alternative to wasting away the holiday lives of young people.
The library's new competition which begins now has enormous appeal. It's such a great idea. Read! Limit screen time!
What children in Invercargill and the Southland province are being encouraged to do is to get reading, to get exploring books.
And the library offers an enormous number of them, and in a great variety of forms.
Readers can download e-books and e-audiobooks, or pop into one of their eight libraries, or mobile book bus, and borrow great books.
|Faraway place ... Southland Library's good idea deserves to spread far and wide.|
The library says, 'Enter as a family and share the reading - a great idea for families wanting to limit screen time these holidays!'
The great pleasure of reading
I live in a wealthy metropolis that has been closing its libraries. And yet this far away part of the world is not bowing to the attraction of IT gadgets and the box, but encouraging the use of its libraries, and the great pleasure of reading.
The library offers the books in a variety of formats, 'including large print, audio, dvd, e-books and e-audiobooks.
'Most items are loaned free of charge.' The faraway libraries also offer free wi-fi access and computer use. Well done, Southland Libraries!
Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.