There may be another Wigan team in the news at the moment but for us it's all about the Wigan Warriors rugby league squad! This is because they have all signed up to the Rugby League World Cup 2013 Six Book Challenge with the support of the local libraries run by WLCT (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust). Some of the first and youth teams are pictured here with our specially-branded reading diaries.
Wigan Libraries are one of 30 library services running the Try Reading project alongside RLWC2013 this year which will see a host of reading and rugby-themed events in the run-up to this October's big kick-off. Wigan librarians are determined to use the world cup events to get more people reading.
The Wigan Warriors took time time out from their regular training session at Edge Hall Road in Orrell to sign up to the scheme and become the first full Rugby League team to take on the Six Book Challenge. Wigan Libraries Outreach and Programme Manager for WLCT Rita Devlin explains: "The Six Book Challenge is a national initiative from The Reading Agency that has been designed the help people get back into reading. All you have to do is choose six books you would like to read and then chart your progress in a diary.
"Wigan Warriors have agreed to take part in the Challenge and the players who will be doing it will post regular updates on how they are doing on the club's website. There will be lots of other events taking place as part of Try Reading and we hope that the Warriors' involvement will turn lots more people on to the joys of reading."
Warriors' captain Sean O'Loughlin says: "Many people will think that the lads would rather take on the St Helen's pack single-handedly than open a book but the truth is slightly different. Reading is a great way to relax and unwind. It takes your mind off the pressures of the game and many of the players like nothing more than getting into a good book. We're all looking forward to taking the Six Book Challenge. We hope it lets our young fans know that reading is really important and will give you pleasure for your whole life."
The Wigan Warriors won't be the only ones promoting the project in the borough. Not to be outdone by their near neighbours, the Leigh Centurions will be starting their very own Six Book Challenge later in May.
Wigan Council's Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Chris Ready says: "We're really proud and pleased that the Warriors and the Centurions are supporting this initiative. We know all the players taking part in the project will give it their very best. These guys are real winners and the message to everyone is: winners read."
The library service is also running the RLWC2013 Six Book Challenge with a range of other partners in the borough including Sainsbury's Distribution Depot in Haydock through learning reps from the USDAW trade union and there are plans to get council employees and also staff and service users at Fourways Brain Injury Centre in Tyldesley taking part.
Find out more about Try Reading and head to your local library to see if they're running the Rugby League World Cup 2013 Six Book Challenge. Sports fans may want to start their challenge with one of the titles on the British Sports Books Awards shortlist.
If you're a library, work place, college or prison running the Six Book Challenge in 2013 our RLWC 2013 promotional packs are still available to purchase from our shop.