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Coventry hoping to reignite passion for reading with exciting new project


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One million reads in a year – that’s the exciting target for city book fans after Coventry Libraries and Information Service won an Arts Council Award for £97,000.

The One Million Reads Coventry (OMRC) project is just one part of a fantastic programme of events as the Library Service links up with Coventry City of Culture Trust. It will be full of adventure, encompassing various art forms, cultural experiences and techniques, which will have a lasting legacy and impact reading across the City.

The Arts Council Award will also allow the Library Service to deliver a complete programme in partnership with Coventry City of Culture Trust, including:

Small Bells Ring – A floating library canal boat artwork created by Studio Morison delivers a literary programme of short stories read, performed, and discussed on the boat, in libraries and canal-side spaces in the most deprived and multicultural parts of the City.


Reading Rooms – Offers children in care weekly facilitated, inclusive sessions, reading novels, poetry, and short stories aloud with a trained practitioner. The project aims to improve resilience and wellbeing.


Storytelling/Reading Book Bench – A unique commission building engagement with reading and storytelling. Wild In Art’s book benches are designed and decorated with inspiration from literature. The bench will be interactive with an audio function, stimulating different senses and offering a range of uses for audiences across OMRC.


Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “I am delighted that the Coventry City of Culture Trust is working so closely with Coventry Libraries and Information Service. This new funding from Arts Council England will see our libraries ensure that so many people in the City, young and older, can enjoy reading.”

OMRC is an ambitious multi-faceted programme from Coventry Libraries & Information Service, placing reading and libraries at the heart of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021.

It will connect Coventry’s people and communities with the joy and pleasure of reading, using literature to spark the imagination, offering opportunities to share stories of the City, lives, and experiences.

Miss Bhathena added, “Coventry is a city with a rich and proud literary history from George Elliot and Philip Larkin to Caz Frear and Lee Childs. The One Million Reads Coventry project and the other incredible events in the Library Service programme will make sure that this legacy is reflected and celebrated across 2021 and into 2022.”

Written by: David Watkins

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