Every year hundreds of volunteers work with libraries to make the Summer Reading Challenge extra special. This summer volunteers across the country are creating Creepy House decorations, helping children learn to read and gaining new skills and experiences for themselves.
Jo Moulton, Service Development Manager at Lewisham Libraries, tells us about the benefits that working with Summer Reading Challenge volunteers can bring.
Summer Reading Challenge volunteering in Lewisham
In 2011 our library authority worked with 15 volunteers, but we worked with over 40 in 2010. There have been lots of benefits to the service, the volunteers and children taking part in the Challenge.
Benefits for the children
- Many parents and carers have said how important it has been for their children to have someone just a little older than them encourage their reading and listen to what they have to say
- Having young volunteers in libraries provides younger children with reading role models and one to one time spent with the volunteers encourages children to finish the challenge and to really feel proud of their accomplishments.
Benefits to the service
- More people involved in the Challenge, so less pressure on staff to keep queues down at busy times
- More ideas and creativity - it's great to have young people involved in libraries to give fresh eyes as we look at services we provide and the way we present them
- Increases participation - the young volunteers get used to coming into libraries and invite their friends to come in, too
- Strengthens partnership working and raises our profile - we use recruiting volunteers as a way to work more closely with people inside and outside of the Council for example local Scouts, Young Mayor, Lewisham College. This year we plan to approach the Stephen Lawrence Centre.
Benefits for the young people
- Quite a few of the young people who have applied are hoping to go on to further study - often working towards careers that involve teaching or looking after young people. This volunteering opportunity can make their CVs stand out a bit more - and gives them satisfying opportunities to really get to know and encourage younger children.
- Volunteering gives young people an opportunity to experience work. One of 2009's volunteers said that he had started to read for pleasure as a result of being a volunteer - he has gone on to be a Youth Worker.
This year's Summer Reading Challenge volunteers can share all of the brilliant, creative ways they are helping others enjoy books and reading on the new Reading Activists' ideas bank.
Read more about Reading Activists and see what this year's volunteers have to say about their experience of supporting the Summer Reading Challenge. You can also read the full case study from Lewisham Libraries.
Join us on the Reading Activists Facebook page.