Leeds City Council has added two new library buses to its fleet in an effort to encourage a love of books and reading from an early age.

The buses, which have been launched during Leeds Year of Reading, are aimed at children aged 0-5 and their parents and carers.

They offer families the chance to hop on board and meet library staff, who will help them choose books to borrow or take part in fun story related activities.

Children from Leeds have chosen to name the buses, Sam and Nelly, after characters in Nick Sharratt’s popular book Don’t Put Your Finger in the Jelly. The acclaimed illustrator has also provided colourful external artwork for the two vehicles.

‘The story buses are a fantastic new resource for the city, and will play a key role during the Leeds Year of Reading,’ said Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities.

‘We want to make sure that every child born in Leeds has access to a wonderful range of resources at Leeds Libraries. Joining the library at an early age provides these life-long benefits.

‘Taking our story buses into the heart of our communities provides opportunities for families and individuals, young and old, to access facilities that otherwise they may not have been able to.’

Andrea Ellison, chief librarian, commented: ‘Leeds Libraries has an amazing under-fives programme and the story buses offer an innovative way of engaging children and their families out in their local community.

‘We can’t wait to welcome children on to the buses and are especially excited to encourage parents and caregivers who might not have considered going to their local library before to come along.

‘Every child and adult in Leeds should feel that the library is for them, and we want to foster this as early in life as possible to ensure that all children have the best start.’