Sunshine Coast Libraries today celebrated the official launch of 10 innovative Story Seats, located in parks across the region and featuring artwork from 10 popular children's books to encourage a love of reading.
Made possible by the State Government's First 5 Forever funding, the Story Seats were planned and developed by council's Libraries team who also negotiated with the well-known children's book authors whose work is featured.
The Story Seats program reinforces the First 5 Forever message – "the first five years last a lifetime".
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson, who joined Community Portfolio Cr Jenny McKay and Division 6 Councillor Christian Dickson at today's launch at Brightwater Community Lake Park in Mountain Creek, said it was great to see the collaborative project come to fruition.
"The Story Seats across our region are all now officially open and being enjoyed by the community," Mayor Jamieson said.
"They are a bright and engaging addition to our parks, and a positive way to encourage parents and caregivers to play a proactive role in the development of their child's early literacy skills.
"We have an enviable outdoor lifestyle here on the Sunshine Coast and the Story Seats were created to embed literacy into the outdoor areas traditionally used for play."
Cr McKay said the seats designed by council's Parks and Gardens team took early literacy learning beyond the traditional library building.
"In this way, community members who may not usually visit the library are encouraged to initiate and participate in early literacy activities – by sitting on a Story Seat," Cr McKay said.
"It's wonderful to see our Sunshine Coast Libraries pushing the boundaries of traditional library spaces, and contributing to our council's vision to become Australia's most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative."
Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the First 5 Forever initiative implemented by the Palaszczuk Government has raised the profile of libraries throughout Queensland, and has pushed early literacy skills further into the spotlight.
"Since 2015, Sunshine Coast Libraries has received $1 million in First 5 Forever funding and we're thrilled it is making an impact in the region.
"It is vital we offer all Queensland families engaging, accessible literacy activities in libraries and in the community.
"These Story Seats are a great way to connect with families who may not usually attend a library, and they open up a dialogue for them to consider their child's early literacy skills.
"With up to 90% of brain development happening in the first five years of life, First 5 Forever supports parents and caregivers at a critical time."
Cr Dickson said the Story Seats were a visible way of promoting literacy and encouraging families to engage in storytelling, active play, singing and reading.
"We're encouraging families to obtain a map and head off on an adventure to find all 10 Story Seats on the Sunshine Coast – one in each of council's divisions," Cr Dickson said.
"Take a picture with the seats and share on social media using #Storyseat."
Visit council's library website for more details and join the #Storyseat conversation by following Sunshine Coast Libraries Facebook page.
For more information on the First 5 Forever, visit first5forever.org.au.
Story Seats can be found across the region in the following parks:
- Pioneer Park, Landsborough
- Nelson Park, Alexandra Headland
- Power Memorial Park, Mudjimba
- Muller Park, Bli Bli
- Russell Family Park, Montville
- Kenilworth town park, Kenilworth
- Maroochy Lions Park, Maroochydore
- Shelly Beach Park, Shelly Beach
- Grahame Stewart Park, Currimundi
- Brightwater Community Lake Park, Brightwater