LIBRARY and leisure centre staff gave the gift of reading as they helped celebrate World Book Night.

Staff from Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre joined forces with Durham County Council’s library service to hand out dozens of free books to members of the public.

The giveaway was part of the annual celebration of reading, which also aims to encourage people to discover the joys of reading for pleasure.

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Councillor Maria Plews, cabinet member for leisure, libraries and lifelong learning, said: “Reading really can open up a whole new world for people.

"Losing yourself in a thrilling story or getting absorbed by a fascinating book of facts can really fire the imagination.

“Giving away free books is a great way of sharing your passion for reading and encouraging others to find their own love of books.”

Library staff also used the opportunity to talk about the thousands of titles, including the latest bestsellers, available on loan for free from the county’s libraries.

Anyone struggling to get to the library can also take advantage of online facilities including reservations and renewals, free access to reference sites and a new e-magazines service, from which magazines can be downloaded on to computers, e-readers, tablets and mobiles.

For more information visit durham.gov.uk/libraries