It has been just over a month since the launch of the Summer Reading Challenge and the number of children taking part across Brighton and Hove City Libraries has been incredible. The launch day saw over 100 people join up at Jubilee Library alone, we are now at 900+ children aged 4 to 11 who have signed up at Jubilee!
It is great to see so many children reading and especially those who can find reading a challenge. Being dyslexic myself, I can still find reading challenging at times and when I was younger I found reading even more difficult. When I see children having a goal however and gaining something from reading it makes the achievement special. I have had a number of cases where children have been disinterested and later found them coming into the library and getting really excited when we hand over stickers, wrist bands and other prizes. It is also great to see that some are continuing to read (as the challenge aims to do) after they have completed it; Isabella, aged 9, said “I really enjoyed doing the Summer Reading Challenge. It also inspired me to read more.”
The Summer Reading Challenge is incredibly inclusive and anyone, regardless of disability, can take part! For instance we have larger posters and Braille packs for partially sighted or blind people as well as allowing audio-books to be used.
The Summer Reading Challenge is clearly getting bigger year-on-year, and it is inspiring to see more and more excitement about reading. Angus, aged 6, said “I loved it and I thought my books were really good!” There are now 3 full and a half full notice board of character markers (most popular is the dog character) and it is great to see such a visual representation of the Challenges success for the participants, family & friends and other members of staff. We are struggling (which is great) to keep up with the amount of reviews children are writing about the books they have read. We are fast running out of display room!
It is also brilliant to hear such a positive feedback from all the communities! For instance over 600 children have joined at Hove Library and other libraries need regular top-ups! Such a wide-spread positive response is brilliant. I also went to a Play Bus event (where the Library service was being promoted) at East Hill Park. Although typical British weather wasn’t on our side we still had a good number of enquiries and met many who were already taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge. We even had (and still are having) people joining Brighton and Hove City Libraries just to take part in the Challenge.
The Young Volunteers (aged between 13 and 19) have also been a huge help. They have created events such as the one taking place this Saturday, (17th August), where children will be making their own Creepy House costumes and many are getting really excited about helping at the desk! The Young Volunteers are gaining a lot from the experience and I have found their help invaluable. We have also been able to extend our programme and the Creepy House ‘experience’ with their support.
It is the hope of everyone on the Summer Reading Challenge Team that the number of children taking the challenge will grow year-on-year and that this year will get even more popular! Beatrice, age 8, commented “I loved it because I have done Space Hop, Story Lab and Circus Stars!” and Mariam, age 10, said that “I really enjoyed it please carry on and increase the ages so I can take part as I get older!”.
For those who haven’t joined yet, it would be great if we could reach 1,000 participants at Jubilee! Creepy House continues for over three weeks so come along and join. It’s free and easy to sign up at any library in the city! Hove and Jubilee have special Creepy House desks to join at.
Good luck in your Summer Reading Challenge!
By Aaron Austin Locke –
Library Officer – Part of the Summer Reading Challenge team
Edited by Lucy Castle –
Library Community Engagement Manager CYP – Part of the Summer Reading Challenge team