Thirty three year old Nija Dalal-Small has been working professionally in radio since 2012 and has just finished producing her first BBC radio documentary. She also runs the Manchester branch of In the Dark Radio curating innovative, creative radio from around the world for live listening events.
We are very excited to announce the collection of titles aimed at young volunteers. These books have been selected for the 10,000 teenagers and young adults who are expected to support the Summer Reading Challenge in 2015.
We're very pleased to introduce February's Reading Activists of the Month, Amy and Clara from Reading Activists group in Warrington, Libronauts. The girls were nominated by the rest of the group because of their commitment and hard work.
Twenty-four year-old Charlotte lives in London and works as an assistant literary scout. We caught up with her to find out how she bagged her dream job and what a day in the life of a literary scout is really like.
Reading Activists are invited to celebrate Harry Potter Book Night by organising their own events. We think this is a fantastic opportunity for Reading Activists to show off their fantastic event organising skills, to get creative and of course, to have fun.
We are happy to announce the new name of our young people's programme: Reading Hack, which has been developed in close consultation with young people and stakeholders. Hacking reading is about a creative disruption of reading, about taking an existing thing and remaking it into something extraordinary.
In November, we launched a 50 word Horror Story competition. The competition was inspired by two new scary books that have had us trembling in our boots, Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell and Sleepless by Lou Morgan.
It's been an exciting year for Reading Activists across the country. Young people have been busy getting creative, gaining new skills and meeting lots of writers, artists and other creative people. Here are a few highlights.
On 25 November 2014 Reading Activists Afsana, Charlotte, Daniella, Hannah, Jeremiah, Kaydi-Ann, Katie, Khalef and Prince spent half an hour with comedian Russell Brand, before he delivered our third annual lecture.
Have you ever had a great idea for a horror story but had no one to share it with? Well now is your chance to share your gruesome, grueling stories! We would love to hear your great ideas for a horror story, and horror authors Alex Bell and Lou Morgan will pick their favourite.
Over the last year, Reading Activists have been working with Instagrammer in residence, Emma Healey. Emma has many talents. She's an author, a book binder and the creator of exciting book-related stop motion animation.
Summer Reading Challenge volunteers picked up valuable skills for the future this summer. To make things a little bit more exciting, we gave prizes to some of the volunteers who got their skills badges online.
Six volunteers worked in Hereford library this summer. They each contributed, in their own way, to the success of the Summer Reading Challenge. The volunteer who made the most impact, both on children and on library staff, was 14 year-old Gareth. Coincidentally, he was also the youngest.
We've really enjoyed receiving news and updates from all the Summer Reading Challenge volunteers in the last few weeks. Volunteers have been busy helping libraries to make sure children all over the UK have the best Mythical Maze experience possible!
On Thursday 17 July, we attended the National Youth Libraries Board at the Arts Council Offices in London. We were there to showcase the findings from the past three years of the Big Lottery Funded Reading Activists programme.
The Summer Reading Challenge is fast approaching and soon hundreds of volunteers will be on the lookout for fun activities to do in the library. Share your Mythical Maze activity with us and be in with the chance to win a prize.
This year's Queen of Teen shortlist has been announced and the good news is that you can have your say! So, all you Reading Activists out there, if you enjoy teen fiction, check out the shortlist, and cast your vote.
Gavin Davenport has been singing, playing and writing folk music professionally for over 10 years. He has been a member of a number of bands including and now performs mainly as a solo artist and with his own band. He has toured in Belgium, Holland, Austria, Germany and Canada as well as throughout the British isles. We were lucky enough to chat to Gavin about and get the lowdown on the songwriting process for all those Reading Activists out there who are intersted in pursuing a similar career.
Meet eighteen year old Leah, our Reading Activist of the month. Leah, who is currently revising for her A levels, has been a Reading Activist in Gateshead for almost 4 years. Her hobbies are "living the Great Gatsby", reading (sometimes) and enjoying life!
The Etherington Brothers have been producing original comic material since 2003, Robin writing and Lorenzo illustrating. They have created Malcolm Magic, Monkey Nuts, Baggage, Tusk, and The Lore of the Things. They have also produced comic work for Transformers, Star Wars, Wallace and Gromit, Terminator Salvation, Dreamworks' Monsters Vs Aliens and Dreamworks' Madagascar.
World Book Night took place on the 23rd of April and thousands of people accross the country joined the party and celebrated their love of reading. We caught up with Reading Activists to find out what they got up to.
Reading Activists have been taking part in digital activities accross the country and we have been awarding prizes for their achievements. Digital activities are short creative tasks designed to be completed within a single group meeting. These activities encourage young people to tackle a creative brief using a different digital skill.
Josh Lacey is the author of several books for children, including Bearkeeper, The Dragonsitter and the Grk books. We were lucky enough to catch up with Josh, find out what it's like being a writer for children, and get some tips for any Reading Activists who are thinking about a similar career.
We love the latest creation from our instagrammer in residence, Emma Healey. This video was in response to Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney and the Reading Activists in Warrington came up with the brief. They picked a quote from the book that they felt defined the tone of the book.
Libraries in Warrington wanted to build on the existing Reading Activists project and work with more young people in the area to improve their confidence, self esteem and employability and to change their attitudes to reading.
Meet Lewis, he's a member of the Reading Activists in Warrington, and he's our Reading Activist of the month. Lewis has been part of the group since September 2012 and is a dedicated member, attending meetings every week and getting involved in all aspects of the project.
Antony Mason has written a total of eighty five books, on subjects ranging from travel to history, current affairs to humour. As well as writing books, Antony translates books from French, writes website copy and has worked as a tutor in writing at Goldsmiths College. Another exciting fact about Antony is that he is a regular World Book Night book giver.
In the February half term South Tyneside's Central Library hosted its first ever Minecraft session. The session was part of the Dulverton digital reading clubs project in which Reading Activists have been equipping 200 young people with new skills by making digital content around books and reading.The Minecraft session was fully booked in a matter of hours, and the places were taken by twelve boys, all extremely keen to visit the library during their school holiday.
This month we've got, not one, but two Reading Activists for you. Andrea and Ylenia, both fifteen, are part of the Reading Activists project in Gateshead and they are both enthusiastic and hard working members of the group.
Joanne Limburg is an award winning poet. She has published three collections of poetry as well as a memoir. We were lucky enough to talk to Joanne about her world and get some great advice for all those would-be poet Reading Activists out there.
The number of children who completed the Summer Reading Challenge in Redbridge rose by 13% in 2013 and the extra support provided by volunteers was integral to this rise. By giving children that valuable one to one attention, volunteers improve the children's experience of the challenge and of reading.
To mark National Libraries Day 2014 we decided to run a social media campaign to help dispel some common misconceptions about libraries. Coral sent us this short story about a librarian showing a young person that libraries are definitely not boring.
When Team Librarian, Jane Rimmer, began working with young people she felt apprehensive. Although she had worked with primary school children in the past, she had little experience of working with teenagers and was therefore, slightly daunted by the prospect.
We recently worked with illustrator Jack Noel, production company Verdant Films, comedian and voice-over artist Holly Walsh and a talented bunch of Reading Activists from Hounslow on a very special film project.
The anniversary may have been and gone, but for real Dr Who fans that's no reason not to keep the fun happening. One of Warrington's Reading Activists, Will, devised this Dr Who library hunt for other young people in Warrington's libraries. Find out how to run the hunt in your library, and download the resources.
When a group of boys started showing up at the library in St Helens, displaying anti-social behaviour, the library team had a choice. Ban them, or help them. They chose the latter, and decided to get them involved in the Reading Activists project.
With not one but two writing careers under her belt, we thought Hilary would be the perfect person to provide some useful tips and helpful info for young Reading Activists interested in creative reading and writing careers.
On the 14th October 2013, at the Barbican Centre in London, before a crowd of authors, ambassadors, youth volunteers, Reading Agency members, sponsors and Reading Activists, Neil Gaiman gave the Reading Agency's second annual lecture.
Reading Activist in Swansea made great use of social media to promote the Summer Reading Challenge. Volunteer Coordinator, Laura Cornish, gave us an insight into how they went about promoting the event online.
From 17 June until 29 June we're running a campaign to celebrate teen reading groups and Jonathan from our Reading Activists programme in Gateshead Central Library has been telling us why he loves his #teenreadinggroup.
Julie Mayhew, author of the fantastic new novel Red Ink sat down for a quick interview about her day-job for the Reading Activists' skills sharing campaign, and offered up some words of advice and encouragement.
Lewisham Libraries' Service Development Manager Jo Moulton gave us an insight into her experiences of the Summer Reading Challenge and the benefits that it has brought to children, volunteers and librarians.
We're working in partnership with ASCEL on their Arts Council England funded Library Development Initiative. Here You can view the presentation given by Claire Styles, our Young People Programme Manager, at the workshops here and download the presentations given by young people, librarians and youth co-production practitioners.
Hopefully your volunteers will gain many benefits from being part of your volunteering scheme: new skills, new friends and work experience being just a few. Find out more tips for recognising volunteers' work and links to accreditation schemes
Want to celebrate World Book Night in style but not sure what kind of event to put on? Never fear, the Mix and Match pack is here! Browse through the resource for some quick tips to make your World Book Night party a success.
Sunderland's Washy Readers have organised the following event for local Reading Activists group. In Idea Busters, Tommy Donbavand will show three brilliant new ways to brainstorm ideas so exciting you'll fight to put pen to paper.
Hannah is an aspiring young writer and illustrator from Bristol who spent much of last summer working as a Summer Reading Challenge volunteer. In between volunteering stints at her local library she wrote the great short story The Lost Cookie, which you can read here. Now Hannah is writing both a new story and a series of blogs about the writing process.
Fresh from guest editing the new Reading Activists creative campaign In the Loop, Reading Activist Abi has written a film review for us. See what she thought of Tom Hooper's new film adaptation of Vicor Hugo's classic French novel Les Misérables.
Jack, 28, has one of the coolest jobs we can think of - he's a book designer for Walker Books. He recently stopped by In the Loop to tell us a bit more about his job, and provide some advice for Reading Activists.
Mwuaahahahahahaaa... Halloween has come and gone, leaving behind nothing but a trail of sweet wrappers, a gaggle of trembling scaredy-cats and tales of all kinds of creepy celebration events held in libraries across the country.
Kate does some amazing work as a volunteer at Portsmouth Library. Luckily for us, she also reads plenty of good books and writes insightful and interesting reviews of them! Here's her review of Daphne Du Maurier's 1938 novel Rebecca.
Young volunteers from Kent interviewed Gabrilella Lepore, author of The Witches of the Glass Castle. Watch the interview and then read a review of Gabriella's novel as well as a new piece of creative writing which it inspired.
We asked our amazing volunteers to act as StoryLab Reporters and write about their experiences of the project, sharing their stories, book reviews and top tips for running library events. Here are some of our favorite responses from our StoryLab Reporters...
Emma, a young volunteer in Portsmouth Library, has been enjoying Joseph Delaney's spooktacular Wardstone Chronicles recently, and has written reviews of each of the books. Here's her review of the first book.
J.R.R Tolkien's The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey is a rip-roaring fantasy adventure full of rips, roars and all kinds of incredible creatures, and it has clamped readers to the edge of their seats ever since it was first published in 1937.
Jodie was a second year student at the University of Birmingham when she applied to be a Summer Reading Challenge volunteer at Dudley Libraries. Little did she know that her volunteering would help her secure a paid job.
We would like to give an enormous thank you and a virtual high-five to James, one of the volunteers at Padgate Library in Warrington. Over the course of the summer James clocked up an amazing 125 hours of good deeds in his local library!
Every year thousands of young people across the UK help their local communities by doing amazing voluntary work. However, this truth is often forgotten and these same generous and inspiring young people are often portrayed extremely negatively in the media.
This summer young people all around the UK have been helping with StoryLab activities in their local public libraries as part of the Summer Reading Challenge. Katie from Redhill has sent us some great new tips for StoryLab volunteers about different ways to get the most out of volunteering!
A CV (curriculum vitae or 'story of my life') is a brief collection of facts about yourself and it's a vital piece of paper for anyone who is looking for work, or voluntary work, and it can also form a useful basis for filling in educational application forms.
Once upon a time, in a land far far away, (Gateshead Central Library) a team of tenacious teenagers began work on a magical, mystical event.
Muggle Mania had over 90 people attend to commemorate the irreplaceable Harry Potter series. A team effort from the beginning, our team met once a week to discuss ideas and work together to make an unforgettable event
Reading Activists Gateshead have been busy making a video review of the bestselling Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson. They entered it into a competition to win some iPads and didn't quite make it but SJ Watson said:
One of the most celebrated books of all time, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, is launched as a richly immersive iPad and Nook app today. Sixty five years after it was first published by Anne's father, Otto Frank, the diary has been brought to life digitally for a new generation of readers and existing fans alike.
It's been a busy start to the year, with a reception at No 11 Downing Street to celebrate the wonderful achievements of the young people who volunteered in last year's Summer Reading Challenge in libraries, and of the librarians supporting them.
The number of young people aged 11 to 24 volunteering in their local library as part of the Summer Reading Challenge has risen by almost half.
Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd joined inspirational young volunteers at a reception at No. 11 Downing Street on 15 January, to celebrate this achievement and to encourage even more young people to share in the benefits of volunteering.
The Reading Agency's Director, Miranda McKearney, tells us why nothing makes her crosser than hearing people talk disparagingly about teenagers and highlights some examples of young volunteers doing amazing things in their communities.