Bookbug Session Leader Support


Bookbug Sessions are free, fun and friendly events for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and their families to enjoy together.

Each session lasts around 30 minutes and includes songs, stories and rhymes. There is usually no need to book, they take place in a very relaxed environment and are a great opportunity for parents to spend some quality time with their little one.



The Bookbug Sessions are widely available throughout Scotland and are generally held in libraries or other community venues such as shopping centres and early years settings. To find out where your nearest Bookbug Session is taking place, please click on the name of your local authority on the Bookbug Sessions Information page, or ask at your local library.



The Bookbug Sessions have lots of benefits for children, such as building up their confidence and social skills and giving their speech and language development a real boost. They encompass play, learning and the development of social relationships and help to foster emotional and physical wellbeing. 


Bookbug Values

We would always encourage Bookbug Session Leaders to think first about the core Bookbug values of being universal, inclusive, respectful of rights and evidence-informed whenever they plan and lead sessions. However, there are also three key rules to bear in mind:

  1. Bookbug Sessions should only be run by those who have received Bookbug Session Leader training and for the purpose of promoting books, reading, singing and cuddling.
  2. The Bookbug brand should never be used to promote religious, political or commercial groups or ideas.
  3. Bookbug Session cannot be charged for, or held in places which are only accessible by parents paying a fee.


Why it’s important that all Bookbug Sessions are free

A poll from Play Talk Read showed that parents consistently voted Bookbug Sessions at their library as one of their favourite things to do. 

Bookbug is, and always will be free for all families to attend. We sometimes get asked if Bookbug Sessions can be included as part of a day or activity session where families need to pay an entrance fee e.g. a family fun day where you have to pay to get in. We always say no, as even a small entrance fee means that some families will not be able to take part. Paying any amount, no matter how small, would go against our value of being a “universal” programme.

We know that budgets are not only tight for local authorities, but also for families too. At our recent conference we heard from Neil Mathers of Save the Children who revealed that 1 in 5 children in Scotland are living in poverty. Poverty not only impacts on children’s rights, but also damages their prospects for the future. Fortunately, reading stories and doing songs and rhymes can play a significant role in mitigating against the negative effects of growing up in poverty, and free local Bookbug Sessions in every local authority are a brilliant start.


Want to become a Bookbug Session Leader?

Bookbug Sessions can only be run by trained Bookbug Session Leaders. Scottish Book Trust runs a 1-day training course for those who wish to run Bookbug Sessions, and meet our eligibility criteria and Bookbug values (see above).  Visit our Bookbug Session Leader training page for more information and details of how to attend a course.


Need to refresh your practice?

Scottish Book Trust runs top-up training designed to help leaders continue to improve their Bookbug Sessions, increase parent and child participation and encourage a welcoming atmosphere where everyone can participate. This is also an opportunity for delegates to share their ideas and best practice with leaders from other local areas. Visit our training page for more information and details of how to attend a course.

We also have some guidance notes for managing large Bookbug Sessions and for running Bookbug Sessions in nurseries and early years settings.  


Song and rhyme Library

We have a great selection of songs and rhymes that you can listen to on our website. You may want to include these in your next Bookbug session.


Need some book inspiration?

We have lots of recommended books listed by age and theme available on our website.


Bookbug Session Templates

We've put together some templates to help you plan your Bookbug Sessions. Please click on the themes below to download each template:

Download a blank Bookbug Session template (Word Doc) and make your own! 


The Book Box Song

Julia Donaldson has very kindly written a song for all Bookbug Session leaders. We hope that this will be included in Bookbug Sessions in libraries to encourage children and families to borrow more books. We think it's great. Thanks, Julia!

Listen to Julia perform the song and download a free mp3 here. 

You can also download the words to The Book Box Song.

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