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.
Gareth has many interests, including volunteering with St Johns' Ambulance and playing both the harp and the piano. That didn't stop him volunteering for the Summer Reading Challenge.
A passion for reading
Gareth loves reading and also helps out in his school library. He was keen to get started and share his passion for reading. He was raring to go when misfortune struck. Gareth broke his arm!
That would have been enough to put a lot of people off. But not Gareth. He turned up for every shift, and, since he couldn't practise piano or harp, he found that he had more time. Soon he was volunteering for even more hours.
"For a 14 year-old Gareth is remarkably mature, responsible and self-motivated. We appreciated having a younger volunteer, closer to the participants in age, with a young person's outlook, and we benefited from his enthusiasm and fresh ideas." - Pam Jakeman, library assistant.
Creativity turned out to be one of Gareth's strengths. He quickly came up with lots of ideas to get children enthused about reading. For example, Gareth lent the library a small wooden treasure chest, made by his father. His idea was to store the medals in the treasure chest and invite children to choose their own medal. The children were genuinely excited when the Treasure chest was opened revealing the 'gold' medals.
Gareth also designed a Mythical Maze Magical Monster Quest to encourage children to explore the whole library (not just the children's library). He enjoyed the experience so much he asked about other volunteering opportunities with the library, and has promised to volunteer again next summer. In addition, he has signed up to the Young Writer's Group which takes place in Hereford Library.
".... it's been an absolute pleasure having Gareth helping us. The help he has given has allowed us to concentrate on the daily routine which is always difficult in the summer due to the increase in customers. Without his help and enthusiasm we would have been unable to deal with the steady stream of eager mythical mazers." - Jon Backhouse, librarian.
"It has been great to see Gareth's confidence growing over the summer, the voluntary work has certainly given him something to think about. It is lovely to see Gareth's love of books being put to good use. We are very proud of him." - Gareth's mother.
We'd love to hear more stories about young volunteers involved in this year's Summer Reading Challenge. Contact Kathleen Ktorides and share your story.