We’re looking for enthusiastic young people aged between 13 and 24 to get involved in Wild World Heroes, this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.
Children across North Yorkshire visit their library to take part in this national scheme, and the library service needs volunteers to help them register, choose books, talk to them about the books they’ve read and assist with library activities.
North Yorkshire Outreach Librarian Lyndsay Glover said: “It’s a brilliant opportunity for young volunteers and a really good chance 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 great opportunity to get to know the community and good to develop a love of reading in young people.”
This year, the Summer Reading Challenge focuses on Wild World Heroes in association with the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Alliyah Ishaq, 16, started volunteering with the Summer Reading Challenge after a member of the library staff visited her school. The Scarborough Sixth Form student said: “I’d always wanted to work in a library and I worked there every day in the six weeks holiday, I did about 80 hours in total.
“I supported people to sign up to the reading challenge, helped people sort out books and take them out.
“I was told that they needed an art club for young people as they only had one for adults and older children and that led to the creation of Scribble Club.”
Alliyah is hoping to train as a mental health counsellor when she completes her studies.
David Greaves, English Lead at St Mary’s Primary School in Malton, said: “Pre-lockdown we got our children to join the library and planned to visit at least termly across the school.
“The plan was to promote the library and promote a love of reading, it’s a win-win situation.”
The children visit the library on a Thursday afternoon when it is closed to the general public.
Mr Greaves said: “Each summer we get involved with the Summer Reading Challenge. We’ve always done it. In school we give reading books at a set level, but at the library children can pursue their own interests.
“It allows them to explore other genres and there is a greater range of books to choose between.
“I’m the Year 6 reading coordinator and I can honestly say that the best writers are always the best readers.
Susie Hall lives in Ripon with her daughter, Molly, 9. She said younger volunteers are a real bonus for those visiting the library.
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 reopening 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 has been going to Ripon library since she was at nursery. 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.”
Find more information on this year’s Summer Reading Challenge – Wild World Heroes.
To get involved as a volunteer, pop into your local library for a chat or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers need to sign up by July 1.