AN INITIATIVE encouraging youngsters to discover the joys of reading could be launched in time for the school summer holidays.

Dozens of stories and tales are set to fill the ‘book barn’ in Dunbar’s Lauderdale Park.

The scheme, which is the idea of Dunbar Comm-unity Council, aims to

encourage youngsters to pick up a book and read more.

Pippa Swan, chairwoman of the community group, is among those behind the idea.

She said: “I am hoping it will be a really exciting thing.

“We became aware or know lots of children do not have ready access to books or sometimes are not encouraged to use a library.

'Children-friendly building'

“We had an idea to make books readily available to children at no cost.

“What we are hoping to do is put up a little children-friendly building in Lauderdale Park next to the play area.

“We intend to make it fully accessible for children with mobility issues and we are going to have it modified so there are going to be books which children can read while there or take away and keep.

“Hopefully, we will have children, when they are finished, bringing them back to the book barn.”

Attempts are now under way to source a building to house the stock of books that would be sufficiently small so as not to require planning permission.

Mrs Swan was hopeful that the book barn could open its doors in time for Easter or the summer holidays.

She added: “We have already had a donation of shelves and some wonderful books from a private donor in Edinburgh.

“We are hoping to set up a link with Zero Waste Dunbar and potentially charity shops as well.

'Children will find it fun'

“What I am really hoping is this will become like an automatic recycling project.

“Children will find it fun to give away books that they are not reading any more and take a new book.

“We are not quite sure how it will work but confident, one way or another, to make sure it does.”

Already, the community council is working alongside East Lothian Council and Bev Anderson, who runs the cafe Wishing Tree By The Sea in the park.

Councillor Fiona Dugdale, the council’s cabinet member for education and children’s and family services, was hopeful that the project could progress.

She said: “Studies show that reading for pleasure helps children perform better in school and in later life.

“That’s why it’s so important that children are given the time, space and encouragement to develop a love of books.

“Having an informal space where children can grow their reading skills and confidence sounds like a very worthy endeavour and I wish the community council well with their project.”