An initiative to encourage people to pick up a book is being run in Swindon for the fifth year.
The Six Book Challenge invites less confident readers to read six books and record it in a diary. Those taking part are supported with incentives and rewarded with a certificate and the chance to win prizes including book tokens, eReaders or an all-expenses paid night out in London.
The free challenge is run by the Reading Agency and is supported by an official website. An estimated 39,500 people have registered for the challenge since it started and 17,000 of those completed it.
Last year 250 people from Swindon took part in the challenge with a number of participants from Swindon College and New College. This year Swindon Borough Council’s library service is hoping to roll the challenge out further with Wincanton Logistics at South Marston already geared up to take part.
Ninety per cent of participants say they feel more confident about reading after taking part and 80% said they expected to use a library more to borrow books. Tutors have said the challenge improves learners’ confidence, increases their motivation and helps them to develop a reading habit.
Cllr Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Corporate Services who is also responsible for libraries, said: “I would urge anyone who has not picked up a book in a while to sign up to the Six Book Challenge.
“Reading is a fun and stimulating pastime and we are very fortunate in Swindon to have such a fantastic library service which is well stocked with titles to suit everyone.”
To take up the challenge people can register at any Swindon library. Anyone who signs up will also be invited to various exclusive events along the way including an award ceremony for completers at the end.
There is an official launch party taking place at the Central library on the evening of Thursday, 26 January from 7.15pm. All challenge participants are invited as well as anyone curious about the challenge or wanting to register.
There will be a quiz with prizes, free refreshments and nibbles and the opportunity to meet and chat with other participants. You can also join the library and register for the challenge on the night.
Library staff are also available to come out and talk to people interested in the challenge, or to talk at staff meetings, reading groups, clubs and coffee mornings.
If you want to get your company or organisation involved then please feel free to contact Leon Flower at the Central library on 01793 463790 or email: email@example.com There are extra prizes available for groups doing the challenge together in workplaces.