Articles Archive

Click to view latest News.

    Robin Walker backs local libraries and the Summer Reading Challenge


Local MP Robin Walker is supporting a campaign run by the Reading Agency to encourage all primary school children to join their local library and take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge – the UK’s biggest reading promotion for primary school children.

The Challenge, which begins on 14th July, is for every child aged 4-11 years old to read six books of their choosing from their local library during the summer holidays.  Children earn stickers along the way and will be given a certificate or Olympic-style medal on completion.  This is the fourteenth year of the Challenge and the theme is ‘Story Lab’, which is set in a city hosting the Olympic Games (see

More than twenty popular children’s authors are supporting the campaign, including children’s laureate Julia Donaldson and fellow award-winning writers Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson, Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Rosen and Jacqueline Wilson.

Libraries will be linking the Summer Reading Challenge to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as it is an official project within the London 2012 Festival – the finale of the Cultural Olympiad (see  Details of local events are available from local libraries.

This year the Challenge is also a Children’s University validated learning activity.  Children enrolled in a Children’s University can get their passports stamped at their local library and earn up to ten hours of Children’s University learning if they complete the Challenge.  They will be able to earn a further four hours if they complete additional activities organised by local libraries.  The hours will count towards Children’s University certificates.

Miranda McKearney, chief executive of the Reading Agency, said:

“With so much pressure on libraries, this year of all years is the time to support the work libraries do to inspire children to enjoy reading.  Research shows that children who use libraries are twice as likely to be above average readers and that children who take part in the Challenge go back to school with improved reading skills and a boost to their confidence.”

Tony Durcan of the Society of Chief Librarians said:

“The Summer Reading Challenge showcases how libraries are modernising the way they support children’s reading.  It combines a fun, incentivised challenge with book talking support from library staff and teenage volunteers, lots of live events, and a fantastic web site at”

Annie Mauger, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals, said:

“The Summer Reading Challenge is an incredible initiative and a great way of encouraging children and young people to keep reading and to use their library over the summer.  Knowledgeable, passionate and skilled library staff in schools and public libraries are so important to engage children with exciting books and brilliant writing.”

Justin Tomlinson MP, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Libraries said:

“An international reading and literacy study found that only 40 per cent of English children were keen readers as opposed to 64 per cent of Italians.  It’s really important that we tackle this as reading for pleasure is a more important determinant of children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status.”

Robin Walker MP said:

“I hope parents and carers in Worcester will take their children to their local library this summer and if they aren’t already members, sign up and attempt the Summer Reading Challenge.  It is free and makes reading fun – vital to building better literacy.  Last year, 4,034 children in Worcestershire took part in the Challenge.  I hope that we can beat last year’s figure and show local libraries how much we value them.”




Media contacts


The Reading Agency - Mandy Pursey at FMcM Associates on 0207 405 7422 e-mail


The Reading Agency is an independent charity working to inspire more people to read more. It is funded by the Arts Council, and has a formal partnership with public library services (


Follow the Summer Reading Challenge on Facebook –!/SummerReadingChallengeUK  



CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals is the leading professional body for librarians, information specialists and knowledge managers. CILIP’s vision is a fair and economically prosperous society underpinned by literacy, access to information and the transfer of knowledge. CILIP is a registered charity, no. 313014. Visit for more information.


The Libraries All Party Parliamentary Group has been established to provide information and opportunities for debate about the role that libraries play in society and their future, with Justin Tomlinson as its Chair.


Libraries exist in a variety of places including schools, prisons, universities, government, private companies, law firms, colleges, health and public libraries. By developing literacy skills, providing access to information and enabling the transfer of knowledge libraries help build a fair and prosperous society. It is important that libraries are run by skilled staff with the right expertise.


Children’s University is run by the Children’s University (CU) Trust. For more information visit:




The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.


The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad is the London 2012 Festival, a spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK, from Midsummers Day on 21 June and running until the final day of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012.The London 2012 Festival will celebrate the huge range, quality and accessibility of the UK’s world-class culture including dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation, giving the opportunity for people across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.

[ Click here to return to the Walker 4 Worcester articles list... ]