Mythical Maze Volunteer Celebration Event 2014.

volunteer celebration eventEach year The Reading Agency’s annual Summer Reading Challenge helps get three quarters of a million children into libraries to maintain their reading skills and confidence. The challenge is for children to read a total of six books during their summer holidays. This year Swindon Libraries are celebrating yet another successful Summer Reading Challenge.  454 children joined libraries specifically to take part in the Mythical Maze Summer Reading Challenge 2014, an increase of 6% on 2013, and 3578 children across Swindon read a total of just under 14000 books as part of the Challenge.

young volunteers

A few of our young volunteers from West Swindon Library having fun in the photo booth.

This could not have been achieved without the hard work and assistance of over 100 dedicated volunteers, half of whom were under the age of 24. Staff and volunteers were on hand all summer to talk to children about their books and present medals and certificates for their reading,
Courtesy of funding via a Grants for the Arts bid by South West libraries, we held our first Summer Reading Challenge Volunteer Celebration Event on October 23rd at the Central Library to show  appreciation for all the wonderful volunteers who helped during the summer holidays. The Mayor, cllr Teresa Page, was in attendance to hand out certificates of appreciation and cllr Keith Williams and local MPs Justin Tomlinson and Robert Buckland also attended.

“Having served as the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Libraries in Parliament, I have been heavily involved in the annual launch of this fantastic scheme.  A big thank you to all the staff and volunteers who once again made the Summer Reading Challenge such a great success in Swindon.  I am so proud of everyone’s efforts to engage with so many children, helping them explore and enjoy their own local libraries.  This really has helped boost their literacy skills, confidence and awareness of the opportunities available at their local library.  Well done everyone!

(Justin Tomlinson MP for North Swindon)

MPS and councillor

It wasn’t just the young volunteers who had some dressing up fun! (L-R, Cllr Keith Williams, Justin Tomlinson MP for North Swindon, Robert Buckland MP for South Swindon)

“Swindon library staff and volunteers have once again delivered a fantastic Summer Reading Challenge, which not only encourages a love of reading in children but builds literacy skills and confidence as well. The willingness of the local community to support this scheme is to be applauded and the continuing success is testament to the hard work and dedication of both volunteers and staff. I am proud of the library service we have in Swindon and the valuable work they undertake with children.”

(Robert Buckland MP for South Swindon)

Entertainment was provided by comic juggler DevilstickPeat and classical music interludes were much appreciated from the talented ‘Strike A Chord’.  A fantastic buffet was provided by the Sandwich People, a social enterprise project run by The Salvation Army, providing individuals with an opportunity to get back into a regular routine, undertake training, socialise, and develop work skills. Kind thanks also go to Barnes coaches who donated a £25 travel voucher for one of our lucky volunteers.

strike a chord

Big thanks to ‘Strike A Chord’!

Swindon Libraries really appreciate the value volunteers add to our services and we are currently looking for volunteers to get involved all year round in a variety of activities. There is something for everyone, whatever your interests and time available. Volunteering helps develop skills, gives the opportunity to meet new people and contribute to the local community.
Current opportunities available:
•    Story/Rhyme time Volunteer – Penhill and Old Town
•    Library Events Volunteer – Central Library
•    Friends of the Library – all libraries
•    IT Volunteer – Central Library
•    Library garden Volunteer – Moredon and Rodbourne Cheney Library

Comments from volunteers include: “volunteering has improved my confidence a lot as well as giving me skills and experience that will help me later in life” and “Not only have I had the opportunity to work with amazing fellow volunteers, but I was introduced to a spectacular community of book lovers and to help young readers is an absolute privilege”
If you are interested in volunteering and want further information, ask at your local library or email us at:

devilstick peat

Devilstick Peat wows the crowd with his table top magic!

Notes: The Reading Agency is an independent charity with a mission to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. It is funded by the Arts Council, and has a formal partnership with public library services.
For more information on the Summer Reading Challenge 2014