We need people like YOU to make a difference this summer!


Some of our lovely volunteers at last year’s Volunteer Celebration Event.

Are you looking for something to do this summer? Want to give back to your community? Do you like reading? Looking for great skills and experience for your personal statement or CV?
Well, look no further then as we have something ideal to fit the bill!

The Summer Reading Challenge is produced annually by The Reading Agency, and delivered by libraries. The Big Friendly Read, Summer Reading Challenge 2016 will be delivered in collaboration with The Roald Dahl Literary Estate as part of the Roald Dahl 100 celebrations.

The Big Friendly Read, Summer Reading Challenge 2016 will feature some of Roald Dahl’s best-loved characters and the amazing artwork of his principal illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake. Each child’s collector’s folder will enhance their reading experiences by highlighting themes such as invention, mischief and friendship explored in Roald Dahl’s most famous books and encourage them to expand their own reading by exploring similar themes, fantastic facts, characters and stories across the best contemporary children’s writing.

Children can sign up at their local library, then read six library books of their choice, collecting limited edition collector cards and other rewards along the way – all for FREE!

Last year the Challenge got 804,647 children across the UK into libraries to maintain their reading skills and confidence. Last year in Swindon 3523 children joined the challenge and read 13549 books throughout the summer – this year our target is to break through 14000!
If you are aged 14 and above, we really do need your help!

What will I get out of the experience?
• valuable work experience; especially good for those thinking of a career working with children.
• counts towards accreditation for CVs, UCAS applications etc.
• a reference for employment.
• the opportunity to develop confidence, social skills, employment opportunities and literacy skills.
• the opportunity to make a positive contribution to your community.
• a chance to make new friends.
What will I be doing as a volunteer?
Encouraging enrolment, talking to children about books they’ve read, giving out stickers, medals, certificates and helping with craft activities and events.

View/download the Summer Reading Challenge Volunteer 2016 Role Description

If you have a flair for social media and would like to help promote the Challenge online and profile the library’s work, or have other ideas to expand this role, then please let us know.

If you are interested, there are a variety of ways to apply. You can ask at your local library for a registration form, email libraryvolunteers@swindon.gov.uk, or download the  Volunteer Registration Form fill it in and then send to us.  If you are aged 16 or over you can also apply online

We offer flexible hours and times to suit you, plus all training will be provided.
We also have prize draw incentives and an end of summer event to say “Thank You!”

The Big Friendly Read runs from 16th July to 4th September 2016.
Closing date for volunteers is Friday 17th June.

Who are our volunteers? We have a wide range of volunteers, both male and female, from ages 14 to 80+. All we ask is for are friendly approachable people with the:

  • Ability to read confidently.
  • Ability to listen and work with children.
  • A love of children’s books.
  • Ability to promote a love of literacy.
young volunteers

Mythical Maze Summer Reading Challenge 2014 Volunteer Celebration Event.

This is a really lovely volunteering position and we’d love you to come and join us this summer. We thought  we would share the experiences of some of our previous Summer Reading Challenge  volunteers:
“Clear training and easy access to help when needed”
“Meeting some hilarious and wonderful people. Watching children’s confidence in their reading grow week by week…I felt I was actually doing something productive.”


Fantastic ‘Olympian’ outfit for Record Breakers, Summer Reading Challenge 2015.

volunteer celebration event

Lovely volunteers at the Mythical Maze Summer Reading Challenge 2014 Volunteer Celebration Event.

 “Being a Creative Writing student, I know how much reading can make a difference in people’s lives. It can even help them to be open-minded and accepting of differences in others. I took, from the Summer Reading Challenge, valuable confidence and determination to succeed. At first I lacked the courage and the skills needed for the world of work, but the staff were so friendly and helpful that coming for just a simple volunteering job was the best part of my day. The children were so wonderful and I’d love to see their little eyes gleam when I gave them their medal or their stickers.”
“It has a lovely atmosphere, the staff are kind and helpful. The ability to meet new people and get experience working in the library.”

“It is invaluable to encourage children to discuss with you the books they have read…even at a very young age, and these discussions encourage them talk to other people outside the family and build their confidence in their own opinion. Reading develops a skill for life for the ability of putting words together, as well as a knowledge of spelling,  together with the pleasure itself of enjoying reading and happy memories. I myself have many happy memories of what I have shared with children in the Summer Reading Challenge. Please join it and see for yourself.”
“I have always received such joy from listening to the children tell you about the books they have read, they are so eager to share with you the story or what they have found out. Every bit of it. They just love the stickers and certificates and especially the medal. I am lucky being retired to have time to listen, the time goes by so quickly.”
  “Volunteering for the summer reading challenge was an amazing experience because not only did I feel I was helping out in the community but it also boosted my self-confidence.”
“I certainly enjoyed my time volunteering during the Summer Reading Challenge. It was wonderful to talk to so many children and their parents about books. I found it very inspiring to be presented with such diversity of readers – those who clearly loved reading and were extremely competent, and those who desperately wanted to improve their skills and were able to do this through the challenge. It was also great to meet so many parents who were so supportive in encouraging their families to read.”
“I really loved volunteering as I got to see how enthusiastic the children were over books. And it was really fun helping them with a activities.”
 ‘We enjoyed the Summer Reading Challenge and sharing books with the children. Their enthusiasm is lovely, and makes it all worthwhile!”


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 2016 including how to get involved and resources for schools, go to www.readingagency.org.uk/summerreadingchallenge
Follow the Summer Reading Challenge on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SummerReadingChallengeUK