The success of Gunnedah Shire Library's Bookend Literacy Assist program has paid off, with it announced as a finalist in the NSW Local Government Excellence Awards.
The program has been selected as a finalist in the Community Partnerships and Collaborations category (for towns with a population under 60,000) of these awards, and winners will be announced at a dinner in Sydney on Thursday, June 20.
The program links local seniors with children who need help with their reading skills, where they sit down for a one-on-one reading session for 20 minutes.
The children choose a number of books from the library to read aloud to their senior helper, where they are offered encouragement and support.
Gunnedah shire librarian Christiane Birkett said parents were happy with the progress of their children's reading skills.
"Children and parents have remarked on their increased reading skills and confidence, children are more at ease with older people, and seniors have embraced the fact that they are contributing to the wellbeing of the community," Mrs Birkett said.
"Both the children and the seniors look forward to coming to the library for their booked sessions and interacting with each other - it's a great inter-generational program that draws on the strengths of the seniors to help children."
The program began after working, time-poor parents asked for assistance to help their children's reading skills. More than 18.3 per cent of Gunnedah's population is aged 65 and over, and within that group there are people with the time and skills to assist children.