Hello bookish friends!
The Summer Reading Challenge is essentially a readathon created by libraries that encourages children to continue reading over the summer period. The challenge is to read a book for each week of the summer holidays. Each year there is a different theme for the challenge. This year was called ‘Animal Agents’ where a crime had been committed and, with each book read, another sticker would be received, so that when you’ve completed the challenge, you will have also figured out who committed the crime. It’s always quite an interactive challenge, with there being lots of extra quests to complete alongside the main challenge.
As a volunteer for the Summer Reading Challenge, you have to ask children questions about the book(s) they’ve read each session they come to and ask them whether or not they liked it, who their favourite characters were, who they’d recommend the book to, etc.
This is the second year I’ve participated in the Challenge and I think I enjoyed myself even more than last year. It’s such a wonderful experience, listening to children tell you about their passion for reading. Particularly when it’s a Roald Dahl book or a Harry Potter book! I had one child who was telling me about Chamber of Secrets (after having read it for the first time) and I asked her if she had seen any of the films. She said she had only seen the first one and was planning to read each book and then watch the corresponding film afterwards. I had such a huge grin on my face. That child made my day. I also felt so jealous! Imagine experiencing all that magic again for the first time!? She was so lucky!
I guess the point of this blog post is to encourage people to, if they can, participate in the Summer Reading Challenge next year. With all the library cuts in London, staff need volunteers now more than ever and, honestly, there’s no better feeling than seeing how happy a child gets when they have completed their sixth book. If you’re not sure if you’ll be any good around children, don’t worry, I’ve always felt the same. Turns out, kids are just tiny people and they’re actually pretty easy to talk to and have jokes with. Also, they all genuinely love reading and get really excited telling you about the books they’ve read. So you’ll be fine!
I had the best time this summer volunteering and cannot wait to do it again next year. If you want to know anything else about volunteering for your local library, please don’t hesitate to ask me anything you like! I also work in a university library, too, so if you ever find yourself wondering about libraries and how they work from a behind-the-scenes point of view, hit me up!