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Volunteers needed for Summer Reading Challenge

West Sussex Libraries are looking for volunteers from age 14 up to support children in their 36 libraries this summer.

Duties for volunteers will include:

  • Helping families register for the Summer Reading Challenge, which may include guiding them to use a computer, tablet or smartphone.
  • Explaining to families how the challenge works.
  • Talking to children about the books they have been reading.
  • Encouraging children to progress though the Challenge by reading more books, helping them choose books and finding new things to read.
  • Giving out stickers and other rewards, preparing certificates and awarding medals for children that complete the challenge.
  • Assisting with art displays, activities or storytimes if required.
  • Supporting other basic library jobs during quieter periods, e.g., shelving or tidying books.

The ideal commitment is a minimum of 10 hours from July to September but there can be flexibility in choosing days and times within this period.

Young applicants could also use this volunteering opportunity as part of their Duke of Edinburgh award, which must be agreed with the library in advance.

Duncan Crow, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, said: “We know that when children are not at school, they can sometimes experience a summer reading ‘dip’, and this is why it is so important to encourage children and their families to come into one of our libraries to take part in the annual Summer Reading Challenge and get bitten by the reading bug.

“We haven’t been able to run the Summer Reading Challenge as we would have liked during the past two years because of the pandemic. This summer we are looking forward to welcoming many more families back through our doors. As such, we’re looking for volunteers to come forward and help support our staff to make this year’s challenge bigger and better than ever, and to give the vital support that is needed to share and celebrate in children’s successes during the Challenge.”

Taking place annually, the Summer Reading Challenge encourages children aged 4-11 to read for pleasure during the summer holidays.

The theme for this year’s challenge is Gadgeteers and sees The Reading Agency teaming up with the Science Museum to help children discover the amazing science and innovation behind the world around them.

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