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Plymouth library services are delighted to support the national Bookstart programme, which encourages parent and carers to share books with children from an early age.

We provide regular rhymetimes at many of our libraries for babies and toddlers. All under 5’s can also take part in Bear’s Reading Adventure, collecting stickers and certificates for sharing books. We also support the National Bookstart week, where we have lots of Bookstart events in libraries.

Bookstart has two universal packs, which every child will be gifted. Bookstart Baby is gifted from 0-12 months, predominantly through health visitors. Bookstart Treasure is gifted at 3-4 years of age, through a number of settings including nurseries.

Bookstart also has a number of additional needs resources:

  • Bookshine for 0-5 year olds who are deaf
  • Booktouch for 0-5 year olds who are blind or partially sighted
  • Bookstart Star for 3-5 year olds who have disabilities that impact on or delay the development of their fine motor skills.

We also have dual language books for those families who would like a book in their home language.

Who to contact

01752 305900
020 7801 8800

Where to go

Book Trust, 45
East Hill
SW18 2QZ

Other Details

Additional Notes

Available in all libraries




Age Ranges
Under 5's
Referral required
Referral Details


Bookstart distributes free books and other learning materials to all young children.

The programme aims to inspire a love of books from as early an age as possible, encouraging parents and carers to share books with children.

In Plymouth, Bookstart is co-ordinated by libraries who work in partnership with Booktrust, health visitors and Early Years services in the city.

Visit Bookstart Bear's Blog for reviews, news and activities for the under 5s and their families in Plymouth.

Join us at one of our regular rhymetimes and storytimes for babies and toddlers.

Bookstart for babies

The Bookstart Baby pack is given by the health visitor in the first twelve months of the baby’s life or collected by a parent or carer from any of our libraries. In the colourful bag you'll find:

  • Monochrome book for very young babies
  • Two board books, carefully chosen by a special panel
  • Babies Love Books – a book-sharing guidance leaflet for parents

The board books and the parental guidance pamphlet are available in other languages on request.

Booktouch and Bookshine

Booktouch packs are for children aged 0 to 4 years with visual impairments. Bookshine packs are for children aged 0 to 4 years with hearing impairments. The texts in these bags have been carefully chosen to support children with these additional needs.  Please ask at your local library for more information.

Bookstart Treasure

Gifted through nursery settings to 3 to 4 year olds, or through your local library, this pack comes in a brightly coloured bag with a shoulder strap and contains the following:

  • Two high quality books
  • Parental help leaflet
  • Make your Mark book and colouring pencils

The Bookstart Bear Club

The Bookstart Bear Club is for all children from birth until they start school.

To register visit your local Plymouth library. You'll need to be a member but you can sign up for both at the same time - it's free and easy to join. Then you'll receive your child's free Bookstart Bear Club pack and be able to enjoy the benefits; sharing books and attending fun family events to get stamps and collect amazing certificates.


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