Picture By Jim Wileman - Libraries Unlimited Conference at Petroc, North Devon.

Despite it being a little cooler today, cast your mind back to the scorching hot summer we had in June/July time.

Do you remember the reading challenge set by Libraries Unlimited?  Well we’ve got the results and they are red hot!!

12,000 young people

Throughout the summer over 12,000 children and young people across Devon and Torbay took part in the 2018 Summer Reading Challenge.

What’s more, over 3,772 people completed the summer challenge of reading six books throughout the six weeks holiday.

That’s one book every single week for 6 weeks.

Awards for all

An impressive 6,661 children aged between 4-11 were awarded with their very own medal and certificate for completing the challenge.

The awards were given out at 50 Devon Libraries across the county.

Back in Torbay 649 children completed the competition and were also awarded at one of the four libraries across Torbay.

The results were released at the Libraries Unlimited AGM which also saw the release of the charities annual report.

Working and Engaging with children

Over 100 staff from across Devon and Torbay’s libraries came together at the Petroc College in Barnstaple to discuss the opportunities in working and engaging with children and young people and promoting a love of reading.

Keynote speaker, author Bali Rai, is firmly established as a leading voice in the teenage fiction market across the world.

Bali Rai is most commonly known for his novel (Un)Arranged Marriage, which was shortlisted for nine different awards.

(Un)Arranged Marriage also won The August, Stockport, North Lanarkshire and Leicester Book awards and is now part of the GCSE reading list.

At the conference Bali Rai spoke to the staff about the importance of encouraging children and young people to read, and how the libraries can play a vital role in his ambition to become an author.

Bali was joined by other high profile guests including Claire Barker, author and Libraries Unlimited Patron Stella Duffy, OBE, Ben Payne, from the Ministry of Stories, Kavina Upadhyay from The Roundhouse and Dan Barton from youth charity Space.

All guests discussed the importance of reading and literacy in children’s development and life attainment.

Connecting fathers in prison

Alan Crickmore, from the Charity Storybook Dads, also spoke at the conference.

Discussing his charities mission to connect prisoners with their children through the power of stories and reading.

Storybook Dads was founded in Dartmoor Prison and is now based at HMP Channing’s Wood.

The charity is supported by numerous prisoners and Libraries Unlimited prison staff, who record CDs and DVDs of prisoners reading stories to be sent to their children to help sustain family bonds.

Chairing the panel, Phil Norrey, CEO of Devon County Council said:

As the former Director for Education you might expect me to say that it’s great that the focus of this year’s conference is children and young people. It was a fantastic opportunity to chair a panel discussion between a young librarian, a youth worker and a well-established and successful local author to share our views on today’s issues and ways that libraries can and do support young people.

He continued:

I was delighted to be asked to come here today. We at Devon County Council want to say thank you to all at Libraries Unlimited and to celebrate their very evident success over the past two years, it’s something of which we are very proud.”

 

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