We are delighted to be involved in the new Prison Library of the Year Award which will be made annually by the Prison Libraries Group, a specialist group of the professional body for librarians, CILIP. Its first winner was the prison library at HMP Lewes, well known to us as a regular supporter of the Six Book Challenge.
The Six Book Challenge was already established at HMP Lewes when librarian, Rachel Sweeney, arrived but she knew they could do more: "It wasn't that bad, we had about 25 completing the Challenge but I really wanted to make it better."
Planning with other library staff, Tribal and the Education department produced new ways of publicising the Six Book Challenge, including wristbands for those who read three books and T-shirts for library staff with the Six Book Challenge logo on the front and 'Sign Up Today' on the back proved really popular. The prize of a large Galaxy bar for those that completed the Six Book Challenge really got people's interest. To ensure a broader participation prisons officers were also encouraged to join, as were hard to reach areas of the prison such as the Segregation Unit.
Over 80 (including prison staff) took part in 2012, and Rachel is already planning for 2013. "We found it useful for the Toe by Toe mentors - often their students were better at reading than they thought, so they could move straight onto the Six Book Challenge which really boosted their confidence."
Have you been running the Six Book Challenge in your library, prison, college or work place? Like to share your tips and advice with other pracitioners? Please get in touch with Genevieve Clarke to tell us more.
If you work at a public library, college, prison or work place and are interested in running the Six Book Challenge visit our resources page.