Better libraries across England recently hosted storytime with a difference, as therapy dogs were welcomed into libraries for special sessions with local schoolchildren – as part of Social Enterprise UK’s Social Enterprise Week, 9-14 October.

With events taking place running up to Social Saturday on 14 October, the annual campaign raises awareness of the difference that social enterprises are making in communities both in the UK and around the world – encouraging consumers to support these businesses when making purchasing decisions.

Social enterprise GLL – the UK’ s largest operator of public libraries through its Better brand, reinvests all profits back into providing quality leisure and fitness facilities for the good of communities.

Hundreds of children visited Better libraries in Wandsworth, Lincolnshire, and Greenwich, to read their favourite library books to up to 30 visiting dogs and their volunteer owners. Sessions combined the joy of reading and the country’s love of dogs to create the perfect setting for engaging young minds in animal-themed reads and promoting a positive attitude to reading at a young age – whilst removing the fear children may have around reading aloud to adults.

Also part of the Better Social Saturday offering, a walking football match was held in Bournemouth. A popular addition to Better’s Club programme for over 55s, walking football applies similar rules to standard football, except participants are not permitted to run – allowing older people to participate in the game, whilst limiting the physical exertion that stops many from enjoying the game in later life.

The events coincided with National Libraries Week - the annual showcase of all the creative, innovative and diverse activities that UK libraries have to offer. GLL Libraries provided a range of fun and educational activities, from play and learning for children, to managing your health, to accessing wifi and games, to finding a job, a hobby or starting a business. During the week, Better libraries were treated to visits from leading authors, including Gareth P Jones, Irena Brignull, Elisa Marcella Webb, Joseph Coelho and Paul Geraghty.

To find your nearest Better library, click here.