Upper Norwood Library by Richard Calvert

Upper Norwood Celebrates 235 Crystal Palace Kids Involvement In National Reading Challenge

Staff at the Upper Norwood Joint Library celebrated a fantastic achievement of helping 140 Crystal Palace children complete a six book reading challenge over the summer.

This year’s Mythical Maze themed Summer Reading Challenge was the latest, annual event, organised nationally, by the Reading Agency.

Children aged between 4 and 12 years old, who sign up are challenged to read six books and are encouraged, with stickers and other rewards along the way.

The Upper Norwood library team is particularly proud that it encouraged 235 kids to participate, which is a 25% increase on the number of kids , who registered last year.

This sense of accomplishment was heightened by the fact that 140 children received certificates for reading all six books. This was a 28% increase on the success it enjoyed the previous year.

Another tribute to the library is revealed in the gender break down of 91 boys starting the challenge and 55 completing it. Nationally it is proving a much harder challenge to persuade young boys to read.

Inspired by the labyrinth theme a particularly innovative approach taken by the library was to hold reading events in the maze in Crystal Palace Park.

The Upper Norwood Library Trust (UNLT)  is working closely with Lambeth and Croydon councils to take over the governance of the Crystal Palace library. It was formed after the 100-year joint agreement between the two councils was dismembered by the previous Conservative regime in Croydon, which also slashed funding.

Robert Gibson Co-Chair of the UNLT said: “This is a brilliant achievement by the Children’s Librarian Fiona Byers, other library staff and the seven wonderful volunteers who gave up so much of their time to make this year’s Reading Challenge such a success.

“What particularly encourages me is that the marketing of this scheme attracted 41 new child members for the library. Of course many children will have read far more than six books, and others may have not claimed their certificates because of being on holiday, so the impact is far greater. It is particularly impressive when you compare it against a depressing back drop of falling literacy rates.

“Local authorities face more cuts to their budgets from central government. But it’s increasingly being demonstrated that short term cuts to library budgets can unwittingly, actually increase social and financial costs for councils. The most progressive local authorities are actually investing in innovative libraries as a means to deliver a greater range of favourable social and economic outcomes.”

For more information please contact:
Robert Gibson on 07748 182234

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