Published Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Coventry’s Central Library proudly hosted a visit this afternoon from Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall who shared her love of books and reading with local children and families.
Her Royal Highness had a tour of the City Centre library, hearing all about its past as an entertainment venue and how it now engages with all the city’s communities to ensure reading is available to all.
The Duchess of Cornwall even found time to read to a group of children and became the first contributor in the city’s One Million Reads challenge.
Her Royal Highness has long been a champion of literacy and has recently launched her own book club called The Reading Room to celebrate literature.
The Duchess delighted a group of young children and their parents and carers by reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle during their Rhymetime session.
To mark Coventry’s incredible year as UK City of Culture, the library service has linked up with Coventry City of Culture Trust to deliver a fantastic programme of events over the next year, with the help of a £97,000 Arts Council Award. It includes One Million Reads Coventry where library visitors will be taking on the challenge of collectively reading one million books by May 2022.
Cllr George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, said: “It was a huge honour for us to be able to welcome The Duchess of Cornwall to Coventry today. We know how important literacy is to Her Royal Highness and we were delighted to be able to demonstrate the full range of library services. Who better to help us kick off our One Million Reads challenge!
“Libraries play such an important role in bringing communities together and it’s been such a difficult year, so as Covid restrictions lift and we are able to open the doors again it has been a wonderful boost to have such a special visitor.”
The Duchess also met pupils from Eden Girls’ School who showed some of the posters they had created for the library’s teenage area, and she also heard about the Creative Kindness project that links crafts with positive well-being and kindness.
Throughout the visit Her Royal Highness was entertained by a modern dance performance by the Off-Balance Dance company and music performed by Abey Huett.
Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director at Coventry City of Culture Trust said: “We are so delighted that Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, came to visit Coventry as we begin our year as UK City of Culture.
“Coventry has such a rich literary history and culture, from novelists like George Eliot, Graham Joyce and Caz Freer, to poets, comics and songwriters like Philip Larkin, Hazel O’Connor, Guz Khan and Jerry Dammers, and theatre and film writers such as Debbie Issit, Alan Pollock and Chris O’Connell. So it is very apt that HRH The Duchess of Cornwall has started the One Million Reads challenge, as part of our partner programme with Coventry Library Service.”