Creative Reading argues that far from being passive and receptive, reading is a creative activity in itself, and is the cornerstone of other creative processes. A love of reading can be more influential on young people’s success at school than parental wealth or social class.
Public libraries are therefore uniquely placed to help foster creativity among young people. They provide free access to learning and an opportunity for independent activity, in an environment which is separate from the more structured experience of home and school.
However, they face many challenges in achieving their full potential. In order to create truly creative spaces, libraries, schools, government and the cultural sector will all need to work together to engage young people, and to build on existing services.
Can public libraries continue to be relevant in the internet age? Rising visitor numbers suggest that they can. Although often forgotten players in the creativity debate, they can play an important role in equipping young people with the skills they need to move beyond literacy and to play a role in our creative economy.