It's clear that taking on volunteers during the Summer Reading Challenge helps support libraries at a very busy time of year. But how can libraries ensure that young volunteers have the best possible experience. We talked to libraries that have worked with Summer Reading Challenge volunteers a number of years to find out.
Libraries in North Yorkshire have been successfully working with Summer Reading Challenge volunteers since 2010. Numbers of volunteers have been growing steadily since they started and in 2013 they worked with approximately ninety volunteers. We spoke to Hazel Smith, Team Leader - Service Development, about her experiences.
Tracy Hager, Children & Young People's Librarian in Wiltshire, is responsible for recruiting and working with Summer Reading Challenge volunteers in Trowbridge and Chippenham libraries. She talks to us about the rewards and challenges of working with volunteers.
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.
Cornwall Council and Surrey County Council have been working with Summer Reading Challenge volunteers successfully for years. Numbers of volunteers in both councils are growing but it hasn't always been straightforward. Jaime Dowling, Young People's Services Project Officer in Cornwall and Carol Hales, Senior Team Officer - Children and Young People in Surrey, have both reported that in the beginning, they came up against some resistance from library staff.
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
Have you started recruiting volunteers for the Summer Reading Challenge? Check out some tips here. Recruiting young volunteers is part of marketing your library service. Volunteering roles need to be understandable, and designed to be attractive and fun for young people
For over a decade, the Summer Reading Challenge has been helping children to sustain and develop their reading over the long school holidays. The Challenge has grown year on year and now supports 750,000 children in the UK. The Summer Reading Challenge is so popular that it can be a struggle to staff the various activities required to make it a success.