Harrogate volunteers wanted for reading challenge

North Yorkshire County Council library service is looking for enthusiastic young people aged between 13 and 24 to get involved in Wild World Heroes, this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.

Promoted by North Yorkshire County Council
Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 9:14 am
Olivia Burley, 21, began volunteering with the library during the Big Summer Reading Challenge in 2016

Children aged between four and 11 visit their library to take part in this national scheme and the library service needs volunteers to help run the scheme and help even more children to become enthusiastic readers.

They will register children onto the challenge, help them to choose books, talk to them about the books they have read and assist with any library activities.

North Yorkshire Outreach Librarian Lyndsay Glover said: “It’s a brilliant opportunity for young volunteers and a really good opportunity to see what it’s like in a working environment.

“It’s great for their CV and personal statement. These days they need something to make them stand out.

“It’s a good opportunity to get to know the community and good to develop a love of reading in young people.

“If they enjoy reading it’s perfect for them. Any local library offers this, it’s a really flexible role. All our volunteers need to be is enthusiastic.”

This year, the Summer Reading Challenge focuses on Wild World Heroes in association with the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

“It’s a great opportunity and something to put on the CV"

It’s about learning about the difference they can make in the world.

Staff and volunteers are not there to say what children need to be reading. Children can read anything they want to. It’s about embracing reading for pleasure.

Volunteers go the extra mile to make sure they can find books that interest them and if they can’t then they can reserve them.

Expanding love of reading

Children can read anything they want to. It’s about embracing reading for pleasure

Olivia Burley, 21, began volunteering with the library during the Big Summer Reading Challenge in 2016.

Together with a small group of volunteers she has organised events to help young readers engage with the challenge and expand their love of reading.

One such event was Harry Potter night. A three-strong team of volunteers made posters, carried out events and held writing competitions for children aged eight to 13 years.

Attendees also made potions, played quidditch and made chocolate frogs.

Volunteers go the extra mile to make sure they can find books that interest them and if they can’t then they can reserve them

Olivia also started Reading Hacks at Knaresborough Library, a group which organises events to engage young people aged 13-18.

Olivia, who has just graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a degree in English Literature and Creative writing, hopes to follow a career in publishing.

She plans to volunteer for the Summer Reading Challenge again this summer.

Olivia, from Hunsingore, said: “It’s a great opportunity and something to put on the CV, there are not many options for jobs in that field to fill up the CV.”

Young volunteers ‘a bonus’

Susie Hall lives in Ripon with her daughter Molly, 9. She said younger volunteers are a real bonus for those visiting the library.

For more information on this year’s Summer Reading Challenge - Wild World Heroes, visit www.summerreadingchallenge.org.uk

She said: “The young volunteers relate to the primary age children. It’s really nice to have someone nearer Molly’s age rather than an older person.

"We visited Ripon Library a lot during lockdown. We made use of click and collect.

“It wasn’t just the book factor we made use of, it was the social factor as well.

“They were so helpful and friendly. We’d say maybe we were interested in tigers and they would go and get the books together for us.”

Lockdown easing has led to the re-opening of the library which has made a real difference to how Susie and Molly choose their books.

Susie said: “It’s so lovely now, we can come in, pick the books up and read the covers.”

Molly, nine, has been going to Ripon library since she was at nursery school. She joins in with the wide range of activities offered by the library including art, crafts and Lego sessions and attends talks by visiting authors.

Molly, a pupil at Grewelthorpe School said: “I just like everything, I like reading books.

“I like everything about it, adventure, fairytale, fantasy. Your mind goes into a new world.

“I’ve read quite a lot, but there’s still loads left for me. My favourite book is The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo.”

For more information on this year’s Summer Reading Challenge - Wild World Heroes, visit www.summerreadingchallenge.org.uk

To volunteer, pop into your local library for a chat and complete a short application form. Volunteers need to sign up by July 1 and will receive a free volunteer t-shirt.