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Youngsters have turned out in record numbers for Cambridgeshire libraries Summer Reading Challenge

By Ben Comber

Summer Reading Challenge medallists at Milton Road Library
Summer Reading Challenge medallists at Milton Road Library

Record-breaking number of children in Cambridgeshire continued to read over the summer.

Cambridgeshire libraries registered their best ever summer with a 26 per cent increase in the number of young readers signing up and completing the Summer Reading Challenge.

This year in Cambridgeshire over 7,000 children signed up to the challenge with over 4,000 children reading all six books and gaining their ‘completer’ status.

Promoted by libraries across the country, including our community run libraries, the Summer Reading Challenge is a national scheme that helps prevent children’s reading taking a dip over the long summer holidays by encouraging young readers aged 4-11 to read six books in six weeks.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s chair of the highways and infrastructure committee, Cllr Mathew Shuter said: “We know that if we keep children reading through the long holidays, their performance at school does not dip over the summer. These fantastic numbers are showing that Cambridgeshire libraries are playing a vital part in achieving this, thanks to their staff and volunteers who accompany all children on their reading journey. Huge congratulations to all those who signed up for the challenge and to all medallists.”

During the summer Cambridgeshire libraries issued 292,625 items to children including books, DVDs and CDs. An extra 546 children joined the library to take part in the challenge which this year had the theme of Animal Agents.

Leading libraries in 2017 were Milton Road in Cambridge, who improved on their ‘starters’ by 117 per cent and Burwell with a 112 per cent increase on ‘completers’.

With some support from Parish Councils, the library service hosted or organised over 150 reading challenge events over the summer, including craft events and visits from all sorts of wonderful animals such as meerkats, lizards and puppies. A team of 153 volunteers helped run the events, accumulating an impressive 1,500 hours of volunteering over the six weeks.


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