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The ‘Street Reading’ initiative, which was launched by the Montreal Public Libraries Network in Canada in 1982, is proving to be more successful each year.
The innovative campaign has attracted more than 300,000 children from 70 schools and 200 other locations in the city of Montreal and its suburbs, who gather every year to read books and watch movies based on famous stories.
The primary goal of the initiative is to help underprivileged children in marginalised neighborhoods to discover the joy of reading. Having started as a project for schools, it soon started to attract thousands of children to events in parks, playgrounds, residential buildings and other public places.
Thanks to the positive interaction of publishers and libraries in Montreal, the initiative was able to continue with an annual budget of 20,000 Canadian dollars provided by the Canada Council for the Arts. The Municipality of Montreal recently announced the allocation of a huge budget of 2.1 million Canadian dollars to support reading initiatives dedicated to children living in the poor areas.
‘Street Reading’, which targets children aged 4 -12 years, also aims to offer children of non-French speaking immigrants the opportunity to read books and watch movies in other languages, including English, Spanish and Arabic and enable children to have access to books in remote places which have no public libraries.