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Libraries update:

Like many other council services, Essex County Council has begun a phased approach to re-open libraries in line with government guidelines. Initially, sixteen sites are open from Monday 6 July 2020.

Find out more in our news story. Frequently asked questions.

Role description Summer Reading Challenge

What is the role about?

The Summer Reading Challenge is a national programme that runs during the school summer holiday. Children of all ages are encouraged to read six library books. All children taking part receive a certificate and a medal when they complete the challenge. You will be working with children and their parents or carers, encouraging them to join the challenge and talking to them about the books they have been reading.

What will it involve?

  • Joining children to the Summer Reading Challenge
  • Talking with children about the books they have been reading and encouraging them to share their views and ideas
  • Handing out reading rewards including stickers and medals
  • Helping children to have fun and enjoy the Summer Reading Challenge
  • Encouraging children to read for pleasure
  • Assisting with administration, eg membership, filing
  • Assisting with other library duties when time allows
  • Helping customers by referring enquiries to library staff
  • Completing a post-volunteering survey

What will you get from volunteering?

  • Valuable work experience and new skills, good for the CV
  • Confidence in talking to children and adults
  • Meet new people
  • Pleasure of encouraging children to enjoy reading
  • The opportunity to make a positive contribution to the community

What skills and experience do you need?

  • A good team worker, able to work with library staff and other volunteers
  • Reliable, well organised and calm under pressure
  • Enthusiastic about encouraging children to read
  • Able to communicate with customers of all ages including parents
  • Able to talk to children about the books they have been reading
  • Friendly and approachable
  • Committed to helping libraries and our customers

How much time would you be asked to contribute?

To be agreed, but a minimum of 18 hours (approximately 6 sessions of 3 hours each). You’re welcome to complete more hours, and it may also be possible to volunteer for the Summer Reading Challenge at other libraries, by arrangement with the Library Supervisor. 

What training and support will you receive?

Your placement library will invite you to a training session where you’ll be given a tour of the library and the opportunity to meet library staff. We’ll send you a number of email updates during the summer with information about your role, details about the Summer Reading Challenge and links to training and resources. You’ll have a named supervisor and there will be ongoing support from local library staff.

How do you apply?

Apply online.

Please note - volunteers must be 14 and over by 1 September this year.


Essex County Council is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults, and expects all employees and volunteers to share this commitment.  For libraries on a shared site (South Woodham Ferrers, North Melbourne and Stock) a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be required if 16 or over.

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