Inspiring the next generation of readers

Published: 02 Apr 2019


In July and August every year, libraries across the country fill up with children taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge during their school holidays. Last year over 20,000 children signed up in Hertfordshire, and we are now seeking volunteers to support children during this year’s challenge, Space Chase. The theme of the challenge celebrates 50 years since man first walked on the moon.

To complete the challenge and receive their medal and certificate, children read six library books and share their reading experience by talking with staff and volunteers about the library books they have been reading.

Hertfordshire Libraries are looking for volunteers to talk to families about the Space Chase Challenge, sign children up, chat with them about their library books, and celebrate their success by presenting them with medals and certificates at the end of the challenge. It’s a great opportunity to make a positive contribution to your local community and inspire children to keep reading.

We are particularly keen to recruit volunteers aged 14-24, to provide children with reading role models, but we welcome applications from volunteers of all ages.

Volunteering for Space Chase in libraries will give you:

  • Experience of working with children and families
  • Increased knowledge of children’s reading habits and children’s literature
  • Experience of helping organise and run events
  • Practical skills such as planning and timekeeping
  • Satisfaction from making a difference to children’s literacy in their community
  • Increased confidence from trying something new
  • A sense of pride and achievement
  • Valuable work experience, useful for CVs and job applications
  • Volunteering for the Summer Reading Challenge can count towards a vInspired volunteering award and in some circumstances can also be counted towards Duke of Edinburgh volunteering and other local and national schemes

A Summer Reading Challenge volunteer from Royston last year said: “I volunteer at the library as part of my Duke of Edinburgh volunteering (having done so from Bronze, I am now on my Gold Award). Having done The Summer Reading Challenge as a child on many occasions and volunteered to help with it last year, it is something that I was keen to be involved in again. The Summer Reading Challenge has allowed me to take on a different role at the library, improving my confidence as it involves me talking to some of the youngest members of the library, as they tell me about the books that they have read.”

A parent, whose child did the Summer Reading Challenge last year, said: “My daughter enjoyed doing the reading challenge and telling the volunteers about it was good for her confidence.  She read about the same number of books as she would normally.  I was pleased that the volunteers were always available.  They did a good job.”

Volunteers are asked to commit at least 12 hours of volunteering time over the summer holidays (July and August) and some evenings or weekends in September for presentation ceremonies.

In most cases, volunteers will be placed at their nearest local library.

Taryn Pearson-Rose, Assistant Director for Libraries, says: “Volunteers are an integral and vital part of the Summer Reading Challenge and the success of the programme year after year. With support from volunteers and particularly young people offering some of their time, the challenge can continue to grow and more children can improve their reading and literacy skills while having fun.”

For further information and to register as a Summer Reading Challenge volunteer, please visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/srcvolunteers from the beginning of April.