Townsville, Queensland

About the community

Townsville is the largest city in north Queensand and has one of the fastest growing populations in the state, with a population of over 185,000 people. It is home to the internationally recognised James Cook University and is the foremost defence centre in Australia. Townsville’s population is young - proportionately there is a higher number of children in Townsville than elsewhere in Queensland.

Townsville and the Let's Read program

Let’s Read is offered in Townsville through a partnership between the Smith Family and Townsville City Council. It is delivered in a large variety of community organisations in Townsville, and in particular branches of City Libraries Townsville.

Community stories

Citylibraries Townsville supports parents and caregivers to develop their child’s early literacy. However not everyone can come to a library and so we go to them. One such group is the Mothers in Townsville Women’s Correctional Centre.  In partnership with Save the Children and Townsville Women’s Correctional Centre, library staff visit fortnightly to sing, talk, play and read with the mothers and their children. Let’s Read packs are utilised to enhance this experience, supporting the messages delivered by staff.  It is wonderful to see the ladies and children sitting down to share the book in their bag, to hear that they read it at visit time or back in their accommodation. Watching the confidence of the mothers grow over the weeks, from reluctance to joining in, to initiating song or ‘Storytime’ and encouraging new members to join is incredible.

September 2018


Let's Read in the Park

Let’s Read in the Park was an exciting project that saw community members, service organisations and business come together to celebrate International Literacy Day, national Let’s Read Week and HIPPY Week.  Through everyday activities, Let’s Read in the Park showed parents how easy it is to develop early literacy and language skills. The event enabled community organisations with an interest in literacy and learning to promote their services and network with like-minded groups. 

CityLibraries Townsville, The Smith Family and HIPPY Upper Ross jointly co-ordinated the program and the event was held in the Upper Ross where children are identified as vulnerable in areas of literacy through a national development index. Over 250 children and adults attended the event, with most staying for the whole time and participating in all activities. Activities included Baby Rhyme Time, Messy Play, the Townsville Toy Library with their popular puppet theatre, a ukulele playing storyteller, La Luna Youth Arts,  puppet making and interactive story telling inspired by the children’s book “Wombat Stew”, library bag decorating, a face painter, lucky door prizes and a massive “Let’s Read” cake!  Two local Early Education Centres also brought their cohorts. There were families from a wide array of backgrounds including multicultural and Indigenous who travelled from all over Townsville. Comments from the community were overwhelmingly positive, with many asking when the next event would be held.

March 2015 | Fiona McCarthy| Project Officer, Let's Read | Townsville & Shan Boller | Children and Youth Services Librarian | CityLibraries Townsville



Exciting Early Literacy Initiative in Townsville, July 2014

Townsville Let’s Read has donated books on a few occasions to the Townsville Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. 

Infection control is a huge concern when dealing with the babies in this Unit.  However, some of the staff have found an innovative way around this concern. They have taken apart and laminated every single page of a collection of childrens books and (wait for it!) bound the pages of each of these books back together.

Now mums, dads, grandparents and other family members can read these books with their babies while they are in their cots, then wipe each page down when they have finished.  It is often so hard to engage with these babies while they are so ill, and this initiative has provided families and caregivers with a way of beginning to build a relationship with their newborn. This was an excellent idea and certainly a great way to bond with books

Let’s Read was sent the following email from the Director of the Townsville Neonatal Intensive Care Unit:

“On behalf of babies and their parents, both my staff and I would like to thank you for the fantastic donations.  We had a baby who died yesterday - the one thing the dad mentioned to me just now is how much he enjoyed reading the stories to his son.”  Certainly a poignant story about the power and beauty of sharing books with children from birth. 

Story by Fiona McCarthy


November 2012

In Townsville, Let’s Read volunteer readers have been reading with the three Oonoonba State School prep classes since 2009. Volunteer reader Lois Williams has been reading at this venue since the very beginning. The children in these prep classes really appear to enjoy and benefit from these reading and early literacy sessions.

Below are some recent comments from Sue Taylor a Let's Read volunteer reader about her experience of reading with an Oonoonba prep class:

“The children are very willing to participate. They ask questions, respond to my questions, and enjoy anticipating what comes next in the story.”

"The children were displaying interest, focus and concentration. The children liked having another ‘Mrs Honeybook’ like she was an old friend. There were new words to learn e.g. journalist, demolition.  One of the pictures took some understanding, but when they got ‘it’, they laughed.”

Sue commented on the relevance the Let's Read books to the children’s lives and how they relate to the stories:

“The growing pains of ‘Tiny’s Big Wish’ and ‘I Want my Light on’ gave an understanding of things that they might worry about.  We can have fun empathising with the characters in the book.”

Let's Read is extremely grateful to Sue, Lois and Hazel, for their ongoing enthusiasm in their roles as Let’s Read volunteer readers.  Thankyou!

Story by Fiona McCarthy, Let’s Read Project Officer, The Smith Family.


The Let’s Read program in Townsville is sponsored by The Smith Family and the Townsville City Council.

Key contact

The Smith Family