Nottingham City Council is holding another Big Reading Challenge in a bid to raise funds for a charity that gives free books to children in the city.

The Leader of the Council, Cllr David Mellen and Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People, Cllr Cheryl Barnard, along with other councillors and officers, will be reading stories to local children in schools, nurseries and libraries across Nottingham – as well as visiting a few extra-special locations.

Running from Monday 22 to Friday 26 November 2021, the Big Reading Challenge aims to raise more than £5,000 for the Imagination Library: an amazing scheme that delivers a free book every month to local children from birth up to five years of age.

Cllrs Mellen and Barnard will launch the Challenge on Monday 22 November by reading to a group of children from Middleton Primary and Nursery School in Wollaton in the ‘Titus: T. rex is King’ exhibition room at Wollaton Hall.

Cllr David Mellen reading a book with school children

Cllr Mellen said: “The Imagination Library is proven to improve children’s literacy levels. There are currently more than 5,600 Nottingham children registered with the Imagination Library scheme, but we want to do more. Our ambition is for every child in Nottingham to get a free book every month, but we need to raise funds to make this happen.

“Given the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on children’s learning and wellbeing, we want to raise even more than previous Big Reading Challenges. We’re asking for as many people as possible to support us, so the Imagination Library can continue to give Nottingham children the best start in life.”

The Council’s involvement with the Imagination Library started in 2011, following a ‘Year of Reading’, and the scheme is now running successfully in ten of the city’s 20 wards. Supported by Nottingham Rotary Club, Small Steps Big Changes and hundreds of individual sponsors, more than 5,600 children aged 0–5 currently receive the books each month.

Cllr Barnard said: “2021 is the tenth anniversary of the council helping to co-ordinate the Imagination Library scheme in Nottingham. We have seen over 3,000 children graduate from the scheme during that time and over 347,000 books have been delivered.

“By getting books, our children are more likely to be ready to start school when they turn five. We know that reading with children is one of the best ways to set them up for a bright future.”

The Imagination Library in Nottingham relies on donations to help parents and children enjoy exploring books together. Every little helps:

  • £2 pays for a child to get a new book.
  • £25 pays for a new book every month for a year.
  • £125 pays for a new book every month from birth until age five.

To support this year’s Big Reading Challenge, please visit the fundraising page at For more information about the Imagination Library in Nottingham, please visit the website at