Are you up for the Summer reading challenge?

Posted on the 6th June 2019

Volunteering with the Summer Reading Challenge gives you the opportunity to develop fantastic new skills and gain experience for your CV. Last year an amazing 6,790 volunteers aged 12-24 helped support the Challenge in libraries across England, Scotland and Wales. This year, that could be you!

Every year the Summer Reading Challenge, one of the UK’s biggest children’s reading programmes, gets over 700,000 children to read six books of their choice during the long summer holidays. There are collectable incentives and a certificate for every child who completes the challenge.

Children can sign up at their local library at the start of the summer holidays – and it is completely free. This year’s theme, ‘Space Chase’ is inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, and features bespoke artwork from top children’s illustrator, Adam Stower.

Volunteer supporting Summer Reading Challenge participant at Pancras Square Library, Camden.
© Dave Warren 2019 for The Reading Agency

Why volunteer?

It’s really easy to sign up to volunteer: just go to your local library. Some libraries will invite you to volunteer as part of their Reading Hack programme, which is a broader volunteering programme designed to help young people make new connections and learn new skills.

Here’s what some of our young volunteers had to say about their experiences of volunteering with the Challenge:

Aimee was fifteen when she volunteered and is a young carer who experiences anxiety. She started volunteering with the Summer Reading Challenge at her local library when she was thirteen. Here she explains the impact it has had:

“I struggle with anxiety so doing the volunteer program was always going to be hard, but being a volunteer has helped me overcome my fears and given me the chance to learn about different parts of the library. As a young carer, it helps me to have that extra time to be myself when I volunteer, even if it’s just for two or three hours twice a week.”

Volunteering has definitely benefited me. It's given me more confidence to talk to people I don't know…I plan to use this experience on my CV to help me with my future career; I'm going to college next year and I want to work with children, so having this experience will be amazing. To anyone who is thinking about volunteering in their library I would say, DO IT! You won't regret it.


© Dave Warren 2019 for The Reading Agency

Seventeen year-old Saagar’s volunteering journey began when he needed some volunteer experience to complete his Duke of Edinburgh Award. He has been a library user all his life so he viewed the library as a place that could offer him exactly the volunteering experience he was looking for.

I have gained invaluable communication, team-work, leadership and confidence skills which I can now apply to any situation. I think that any form of IT knowledge, and the ability to offer support is valuable in any profession. I would definitely recommend volunteering and working in libraries to anyone!


If you’re interested in volunteering with the Summer Reading Challenge this year, just head to your local library. You can also find out more on the volunteering page of our website, or drop us an email at

All images featured in this blog are copyrighted to Dave Warren 2019 for The Reading Agency

Emma Braithwaite –

Programme Manager, Children’s Reading

“I am responsible for delivering our annual Summer Reading Challenge: the UK's biggest reading for pleasure programme for children.”

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