GET MORE KIDS TO READ: The Free Little Libraries Project is aiming to improve children’s literacy in Mildura, and get more kids off their screens and into books. The initiative is being run in partnership with Mildura Senior College, with students Cameron Wilson, 17, and Chase Nelson, 16, playing their part.

A NEW initiative designed to get more Sunraysia children reading wherever they go was launched in the region this week.

A joint project between Mildura Senior College and Northern Mallee Leadership Program, 40 free libraries will be established across the region as part of ‘The Free Little Libraries Project’.

Free Little Libraries Project manager, Kellie Coff, said her aim is to transform Sunraysia into a literacy-rich community.

“One in every three kids in Mildura is not being regularly read to at home,” Kellie said.

“It’s been proven that kids that read do better, so this will get them back to reading and connecting to books, as well as connecting the town with a common thread.

“It will give kids something to look forward to, instead of being handed a phone to play with, they can pick up a book.

“The more books they read, the more opportunities they will have later in life.”

More than 100 Mildura Senior College VCAL students were responsible for the construction and decoration of The Free Little Libraries, with all books donated by Mildura’s Knowledge Centre.

The little libraries, set to roll out from July, will be found at locations across the region including Mallee Family Care, MDAS, Zoe Support, Mildura’s ANZ bank, medical centres, maternal and child health services in Mildura, Red Cliffs, Merbein, Ouyen, Murrayville and along the Mallee Track.

Children will be encouraged to read a book, take a book or donate a book at any of the Free Little Library locations.

Residents can also donate old children’s books to the community project by mailing them to The Free Little Library Project, PO Box 13044, Mildura VIC 3500, or contact Kellie on 0499 544 678.