On Monday 10 September four young Summer Reading Challenge volunteers with Nick Hurd MP, minister for Civil Society, at Canada Water Library in Southwark.
The young people, who had all been helping with the Summer Reading Challenge in libraries across Southwark Borough during the school summer holidays, showed the minister around the new library's facilities. They also spoke to the minister about what they felt they had gained through their volunteering experience.
Aishat (photographed here), aged 15, who volunteers at Canada Water Library said; "I enjoy being a young volunteer, I communicate with the public and children - it's fun. I am gaining communication skills and it boosts my confidence."
The visit was timed to coincide with the announcement that we will be working with local authority library services across the UK to create a Youth Innovation Network of librarians who together will generate thousands of new volunteering opportunities in public libraries for young people aged 11 to 25 years.
Miranda McKearney, our director, said; "Young people are having a really tough time, so we're delighted to be able to give libraries extra support to create important new volunteering opportunities to support reading in the community. The Network builds on libraries' long standing experience of involving volunteers, extending this to build year round volunteering opportunities. These opportunities will help young people develop their communication, literacy and civic participation skills, and unleash their passion for helping to create a better society."
Volunteering opportunities are likely to include designing new library services, organising author events, reading with children, handing out books at events like World Book Night, and using library space and computers to tell stories about their community via social media.
If you're a young person thinking about getting involved in your local community and volunteering find out more here or on our Facebook page.
If you're a professional working with young people who'd like to know more about our volunteering work take a look at our resources page or get in touch for more information.