Mythical Maze Makers: An impact study of youth volunteering on the Summer Reading Challenge in 2014

Friday 6 February 2015


Summer Reading Challenge volunteering (SRCv) is a Reading Agency programme targeted at young people aged 12-24 and involves volunteering in libraries over the summer to help with the running of the annual Summer Reading Challenge (SRC).

In 2013, nearly 6000 young people were recruited as Summer Reading Challenge volunteers in 1454 libraries across 137 local authorities. In 2014, The Reading Agency were successful in securing a grant from the Centre for Social Action at the Cabinet Office to expand the number of young people involved in SRCv. Following consultation with the library sector, it was agreed that a 40% increase in volunteers would be possible in 2014.

The expansion of SRCv means that it is increasingly becoming a key volunteering opportunity in the wider context of developing high quality social action for young people.

OPM was commissioned by The Reading Agency in May 2014 to undertake an impact study of SRCv. During the summer of 2014, qualitative research was undertaken with volunteers, SRC participants, library staff and other stakeholders in four case study locations in England – Gloucestershire, Lancashire, Norfolk and Tower Hamlets.

Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency, said:

“What this report shows is something that we have frequently heard from our library colleagues. Young volunteers not only develop their own skills by working in libraries over the summer; they also act as powerful role models for children, inspiring them to read more and encouraging them to join in with the Challenge. It has been wonderful to see the benefits to everyone which have come from young people participating in this amazing programme.”