Planting the seed – kindergarten libraries

In 2005 the Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority and the National Centre for Reading Education and Research initiated the project BOKTRAS, bringing library services into kindergartens. BOKTRAS had its origins in ‘Make space for reading’, a national plan to stimulate interest in reading and to equip children and young people with the skills and competence necessary to make good use of libraries.

The success of BOKTRAS led to the introduction in 2008 of Lesefrø (translates as ‘Reader seedlings’). This project is based on the same premise as BOKTRAS but is designed specifically for the needs of children speaking a minority language. Two public libraries and four kindergartens are taking part. The libraries provide each kindergarten with 200 or more books, replacing them with a new collection at least twice a year. This project receives financial support from the Archive, Library and Museum Authority.

Carrying out the Lesefrø project presents greater challenges than BOKTRAS. A test of 4-year-old children revealed considerable differences in language skills, underlining the difficulty of choosing books for children with varying levels of ability. One important aspect of the project is that the children can take books home, where they can be read to or can listen to audio books. This creates a need for books and literature with parallel texts but unfortunately the choice here is rather limited.

The minority language groups are large and varied, representing some 15 different mother tongues. Cooperation with the Multilingual Library – a department of the Deichman Public Library in Oslo – has proved extremely valuable to the project.

Reports and reactions so far from the various participants indicate strong motivation for the Lesefrø project and confirm that the children involved enjoy their encounter with literature and language.

Monica Kaasa
Adviser, Norwegian Archive,
Library and Museum Authority

Monica.kaasa AT

Translated by Eric Deverill

Adviser, Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority