Summer reading Challenge 2014 involving young volunteers


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Training presentation for libraries planning to start volunteering for the first time in 2014

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  • Photo from Argyll & Bute, where Rothesay library had the help of 13 teenage volunteers from the local secondary school.
  • We’ve also got films of young people talking about their experiences volunteering. You are welcome to embed any of these films into your websites.
  • Take some time to think in groups of the benefits you might find in your library Important to emphasise to staff that young people are not a threat to their jobs. All our evidence points to the value of young people working alongside library staff and bringing a new perspective to the Summer Reading Challenge
  • Suggest to staff and volunteers that they collect stories from children as the Challenge progresses so that they have advocacy case studies for themselves and for TRA
  • For local volunteer organisations, youth services, universities, colleges and schools, library services have a fantastic offer in terms of volunteering opportunities for young people – so make sure they all know it! Networking opportunity for libraries to engage with other Local Authority partners and seek support for year round volunteering opportunities.Library services will ensure all paperwork is in place, and will recruit and support young volunteers in adherence with LA policiesLibrary staff will support the young people and ensure they are clear on their rolesMany young people are looking for opportunities that give them a chance to work with children – and that is fun!It’s good to have something local, and in the holidays.As it’s an annual programme, young people can come back again or stay involved in the library, and can take on more responsibility/progress their role.
  • Videos of volunteers talking about their experiences are available at:
  • Fulllink:
  • See report, downloadable from Reading Agency website at
  • Many said that they were already very interested in books and reading!
  • Here are some of the ways that the young people have continued to help in libraries.
  • See
  • We will be producing resources which can be downloaded from Summer Reading Challenge library resources web page, such as badges, certificates and activity sheets. The badges and certificates are also available to order from the order form.The volunteers will be encouraged to share ideas via the Reading Activists’ Page on The Reading Agency website.And, we have put together a suggested book list for young people, for their own summer time reading!
  • Postcard (LH side) has a call to action to young people on the reverse side, plus the benefits for getting involved and space for libraries to print their own details.Volunteer Booklet (RH side):The booklet will give volunteers advice and tips for the summer with a focus on the skills gained through volunteering. It will include a short summary of the following, with links to more in depth content on the Reading Activists website:A volunteer log for volunteers to record their hoursAdvice on developing skills over the summer e.g. communication and marketing skillsCV writing tips Top tips for things to do in quiet timesIdeas for helping children read  
  • Here’s the certificate in the two availableformats (Scottish version on the right hand side)
  • These are a range of roles which could be offered to young volunteers. By offering a range of roles, there are opportunities for developing different skills, and also for offering a progression to young people who have volunteered before. The use of the word Activist ties the role to the Reading Activists programme, which aims to involve young people throughout the UK in creative activities through libraries.Summer Reading Challenge ActivitistsNew volunteers will be able to help in any library over the summer, supporting the library staff and helping children to get the most out of the Challenge. The role might include:Signing children up to the ChallengeHelping children to find and choose booksListening to them talking about their booksHelping children to use the Summer Reading Challenge websiteHelping with eventsUsing activity sheets and other ideas to help children share their reading choices with their peersCollecting data for evaluation AmbassadorAmbassadors promote and advocate for the Summer Reading Challenge in schools and other community settings during the school summer term. They encourage children to take part in the Challenge. The role might include:Going into schools with presentations about the ChallengeCreating displays in schoolsRunning Creepy House activities and events during the Summer term to encourage children to take part in the Challenge  ReporterReporters are volunteers with an interest in gaining media and journalism skills. They help promote the Challenge online and profile their library’s work. The role might include: Taking photos and video footage (signed forms required for any children featured)Writing reviews of activities and eventsPromote the Challenge via blogging, photos and news items.Talking to the pressDoing interviews for radio/TVLeaderLeaders have probably volunteered for the Challenge before and are looking to develop their skills and widen their experience. The role might include:Running training sessions for other volunteers Timetabling volunteer schedulesMentoring volunteers throughout the ChallengePlanning volunteer team building events and activities Planning volunteer celebration events  
  • It’s a good idea to have a table where the young volunteers can sit and welcome children joining the Challenge, or bringing back their books – they usually have great ideas about how to make eye-catching displays & make it look fun.A useful tip is to have a diary on the table, where volunteers can leave notes about their session; what happened, any comments from children, any useful information for other volunteers or staff.Add extra slides for each role!!
  • Read the full case study here:
  • Watch the video that Summer Reading Challenge Reporters in Swansea created:
  • It is important that we don’t overload your Summer Reading Challenge volunteering programme with so many procedures that it becomes onerous for staff and off-putting for young people. However, you will need some guidelines in place to make sure that your work with volunteers runs smoothly.Your library service may very well already have a volunteer policy that you can refer to, and that you can check to ensure you have all the paperwork and procedures in place before you start involving young volunteers. If not, a sample policy is included in our volunteering templates.Having a volunteer policy: makes a clear statement to volunteers, staff and the wider community that your service cares about volunteers ensures everyone understands how and why you use volunteers makes it easier to recruit volunteers helps you to retain volunteers ensures the delivery of a good quality service enhances the reputation of your organisation enables you to respond positively to funders' requests for evidence of good practice supports you in complying with legal requirements sets out expectations for everyone and helps to eliminate the possibility of disappointment and a failed relationship helps you to evaluate progress
  • Centrally, The Reading Agency will provide training, distance support and substantial resources including volunteer packs and advocacy materials. Printed materials include Postcards and Advocacy Card for schools,partners and internally. Online resources include: (1) a schools pack of letters for teachers, presentations for plasma screens and assemblies. (2) Volunteer handbook, case studies, templates and best practice guide. (3) promotional films and case studies. In addition, an appropriate digital platform to support the volunteers will be developed further, building on the success of the Ideas Bank created for 2013.
  • Your volunteering policy should be unique to your particular service as your aims, objectives and needs will be different to those of other organisations. However there is some standard information that any volunteering policy should include: a written statement of the aims and values of your library and of the role that volunteers play in delivering your objectives, recognising the complementary roles of paid staff and volunteersthe health and safety requirements for employing volunteers, including documents for undertaking risk assessments an explanation of what your library expects of volunteers and what volunteers can expect from you the roles that volunteers will play in the service and the support, protection and benefits that volunteers are entitled to guidelines for the recruitment and selection of volunteers, including information about underlying principles of quality, diversity and equal opportunitiesinformation about the induction, training, support and supervision available to young volunteers guidelines for how the contribution of young volunteers will be recognised and rewarded, monitored and evaluateda code of practice governing the relationship of volunteers with your service
  • Make posters simple and to-the-point. Stress that it will be fun!For instructions on how to use Vinspired website, go to
  • Volunteer roles are as important as those of paid staff and although the selection policy should be informal it is good practice to ask YP to fill in application forms which give them an opportunity to explain why they are interested in the role.Interviews will be more like a conversation drawing out YP’s skills and aptitudes. Some authorities hold group interviews but it is essential that everyone has a chance to speak.Parental permission needed for Under 16s.Some applicants may not be suitable but encourage them to look for other opportunities(local partnerships will be important here).Do the volunteers reflect your local demographic? Community language speakers can be invaluable when talking to parents.
  • Health and safety policyYoung volunteers have a right to the same health and safety protections, training and advice as your staff. As part of their induction, volunteers should be made aware of the health and safety policy and any other relevant policies (e.g. around confidentiality).Risk assessmentYou should carry out a risk assessment in relation to all your Summer Reading Challenge volunteer roles. Identify what could go wrong to mitigate against the risk, but don’t let it put you off! The risks to the young volunteer, the library and other customers are minimal. We have more detailed information about this in the handbook, and there is also a Risk Assessment template which you could use. Training and induction – induct and train all volunteers so that they are aware of potential risks to their health and safety. Training will also mitigate against the risk of volunteers behaving inappropriately – e.g. by providing incorrect information Child protectionYour Summer Reading Challenge volunteers will be coming into contact with children, some of whom will be alone and unaccompanied. Try to mitigate the small risk to children and to the volunteers by: advising volunteers about avoiding physical contact and not taking a child to the toilet, ensuring that library staff are in the vicinity, etc. DBS checkingCheck your local authority guidance on whether DBS checks are required for your young volunteers.
  • Induction and training is an important part of giving young people a positive library volunteering experience. Once you’ve recruited your young people, you’ll need to get them inducted as quickly as possible to keep them interested. Induction doesn't’t have to be a boring checklist. Think about what they need to know and how you can convey the information in a fun way. Ideally, induct groups of young people together. You could ask other young people to do the induction. Sponsors might be able to help with venues/refreshments (e.g. Starbucks have provided this in some authorities) Present any written information in a short and jargon-free way Write down the dates, times and address of their first session. Prepare a volunteer agreement – that clarifies expectations and give them a copy. See volunteering template
  • Think through all the support that the young volunteers will need Group/ peer support - how can young people help each other to feel supported? Staff support – who is the main contact for the volunteer in the library?Service support – what happens when local relationships break down?
  • Many more awards are available – these are the most common. There may be a local authority award and someone employed by the local authority to support accreditation so check this out.
  • Use these events to promote more opportunities in the library e.g. Chatterbooks
  • TRA will send out link to Survey Monkey form for registration and follow-up.
  • Summer reading Challenge 2014 involving young volunteers

    1. 1. Summer Reading Challenge 2014 Involving Young Volunteers
    2. 2. Training Presentation Section 1: why involve young people as volunteers? The benefits, and the results to date Section 2: resources and roles to support young volunteers helping with the Summer Reading Challenge in 2014 Section 3: paperwork! Section 4: accreditation, recognition and evaluation
    3. 3. Why involve young people as volunteers? The benefits, and the results to date SECTION 1
    4. 4. How has volunteering with the Summer Reading Challenge developed? • Library services have involved young people as volunteers helping with Summer Reading Challenge for many years, e.g. West Sussex, Essex ,Tameside, London Borough of Lewisham • In 2010 The Reading Agency had funding from volunteer charity v and the John Laing Charitable Trust to develop the volunteering programme for the Summer Reading Challenge
    5. 5. How has volunteering with the Summer Reading Challenge developed? • 2010 – 20 pilot authorities trained/supported • 2011 – 50 authorities trained/supported • 2012 – all authorities offered training/support • From 2011 to 2013, funded by John Laing Charitable Trust. In 2013 and 2014, funded by the Social Action Fund
    6. 6. Benefits of involving young volunteers – for libraries • • • • • • • • • Support with administering the Summer Reading Challenge A more youthful image The enthusiasm and fresh perspective of young people The skills young people can bring – such as digital/creative skills Increased library usage by young people A link with local communities Help to deliver activities Staff confidence in working positively with young people A fresh look at working practices
    7. 7. Benefits of involving young volunteers – for young people • Valuable work experience; especially good for those thinking of a career working with children • Counts towards accreditation for CVs, UCAS applications etc., E.g. Duke of Edinburgh’s Award • A reference for employment • The opportunity to develop confidence, social skills, employment opportunities and literacy skills • The opportunity to make a positive contribution to their communities – they want to help children succeed • A chance to make new friends • Encouragement to read more
    8. 8. Benefits of involving young volunteers – for children • More one-to-one attention from volunteers and staff • A chance to talk in more detail about their reading experiences • Reading role models to raise their aspirations • Help with digital technology • New, creative activities linked to the Challenge • Encouragement to complete the Challenge
    9. 9. Library service offer to partner organisations For local volunteer organisations, youth services, universities, colleges and schools: • Safe places – and in all areas • Supportive staff • Good practices • Work with children • In the holidays! • Opportunity for progression
    10. 10. In the words of a young volunteer… "I never used to be a confident reader but volunteering made me see how confident I could be. If you'd asked me 4 years ago if you thought I'd be at Downing Street now I'd have said 'no'. I've loved every single minute of volunteering and it's improved my confidence miles.” Tom Hotston, 15, Reading Activist, Warrington Reading Activists at Downing Street, Jan 2013
    11. 11. Volunteers speak about their experiences You can listen to more volunteers speaking about their experiences at:
    12. 12. Results 2013 • 5,684 young volunteers aged 12-24 years recruited in libraries in the UK • 30% increase in the number of volunteers recruited compared with 2012 • 96% of volunteers said they learnt new things and gained skills and experience through volunteering for the Summer Reading Challenge • 71% of volunteers said they would like to keep volunteering in a library after the Summer Reading Challenge has finished.
    13. 13. Results 2013 – libraries and reading • 55% of volunteers felt that they were more interested in books and reading as a result of being involved with the Summer Reading Challenge. • 63% of volunteers intend to use the library more now, after completing the volunteering “The experience was fantastic. I achieved my first award on vInspired and had some brilliant opportunities. I've been able to write articles, I’ve had the prospects of continuing a reading group at the library and my writing skills progressed - which means a great deal to me.” Jess, Harrogate “
    14. 14. Results 2013 • 81% of library authorities said the volunteers helped more children to complete the Challenge by reading six books, 24% felt this strongly. • 97% of volunteers felt they helped children with their reading confidence (37% A Lot, 60% A Little). • • There was definitely some increase in completion in those libraries that had volunteers. Rachel Levy, Sutton We had many positive comments about volunteers and how essential they are in supporting library staff with the extra work involved. Children, parents and staff commented that talking to the volunteers about their books was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the Challenge for children. Paul Howarth, Suffolk
    15. 15. Comments from libraries “Children and parents very much appreciated the volunteers and the time that they were able to spend with children, and male volunteers certainly encouraged boys taking part.” Carol Hales, Surrey Libraries “Families report that having volunteers for their children to discuss their reading with was really beneficial and adds value to the scheme” Russell Allen, West Sussex Libraries
    16. 16. Comments from volunteers • “I have volunteered for over two years now in Redbridge Libraries and I have enjoyed all aspects of it. I have learnt valuable skills that have helped me in and outside of school and I feel that it is a good opportunity for young people to give back to the community.” Saagar, Redbridge • I would like to say that volunteering for the summer reading challenge has helped me develop many skills and has greatly boosted my confidence. I hope I can continue to help the community further by volunteering in future library events.” Muhammad, Redbridge
    17. 17. Results 2013 • 71% of volunteers said they would like to keep volunteering in a library after the Summer Reading Challenge has finished. • 53% of library authorities have offered young people opportunities to continue volunteering in the library or the community after the summer, with offers made to at least 2,181 volunteers. • In addition, 10 library authorities offered job opportunities to 15 volunteers. • More details on results can be found in the report on The Reading Agency website:
    18. 18. Further volunteering • • • • • • • • • Help with family fun days; manga group; craft events; Bookstart; promoting self service machines. Helping to run Chatterbooks groups Helping with book groups, helping with activities, helping with the home library service, helping with an adult listening group. Helping at homework clubs and with children's activities Supporting staff with half-term and weekend events Peer Mentoring project with Home Work club, Youth consultancy projects to buy stock Assisting with other library events Running a teenage reading group, visits to libraries with questionnaires for the public. Helping with Family Learning Festival, rhymetimes, holiday activities, Reading Activist opportunities
    19. 19. Volunteer Snapshot: Activist James did 175 hours of volunteering in two libraries in Warrington during summer 2012. He was one of the Reading Activists invited to a celebration event at No. 11 Downing Street.
    20. 20. Resources and roles to support young volunteers helping with the Summer Reading Challenge in 2014 SECTION 2
    21. 21. Mythical Maze - 2014 • Resources • T-shirt, badge, booklet, certificate • Activity sheets • Reading Activists’ web page • Reading/book list
    22. 22. Volunteer roles • Summer Reading Challenge Activists • Helping children take part in the Challenge • Reporters • Blogging and recording • Leaders • Planning and supporting
    23. 23. Summer Reading Challenge Activist • • • • • • • Signing children up to the Challenge Helping children to find and choose books Listening to them talking about their books Helping children to use the Summer Reading Challenge website – add titles to the Book Sorter Helping with events Using activity sheets and other ideas to help children share their reading choices with their peers Collecting data for evaluation
    24. 24. Reporters case study: Swansea Swansea took on 35 young Reading Activist volunteers this summer, all aged 14 to 24. Several of these took on the role of Summer Reading Challenge reporters, which included coming up with the material for the blog: • Writing original spooky stories for children • Tweeting spook-themed jokes • Posting puzzles and colouring pictures • Creating video tutorials of the activities that they had devised. • Creating celebratory photo-stories
    25. 25. Leaders Leaders have probably volunteered for the Challenge before and are looking to develop their skills and widen their experience. The role might include: • Running training sessions for other volunteers • Timetabling volunteer schedules • Mentoring volunteers throughout the Challenge • Planning volunteer team building events and activities • Planning volunteer celebration events
    26. 26. Volunteer Snapshot: Leader Alex, a volunteer from Wakefield, worked with Wakefield Library service to create a film of the Summer Reading Challenge in 2011. This year he is progressing to a leader and mentor role: “I am in talks with Wakefield Library Service to progress into a mentor for volunteering in Wakefield and give training on video editing and creation. I hope that during this summer I would be able to visit all my districts libraries and possibly shoot some more footage in order to create a video for the 2013 reading challenge alongside the volunteers and staff of Wakefield Library Service.”
    27. 27. Working with volunteers in schools Volunteers can also help in schools, encouraging children in primary schools during the school summer term to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge. The role might include: • Going into other schools with presentations about the Challenge • Creating displays in schools • Running activities and events during the Summer term to encourage children to take part in the Challenge • Volunteering in libraries over the summer
    28. 28. Paperwork: volunteer policy, risk assessment, volunteer agreement, etc. SECTION 3
    29. 29. Volunteer Policy Having a volunteer policy: • • • • • • • • is a clear statement that you care about volunteers ensures everyone understands the rationale makes it easier to recruit and retain volunteers ensures good quality enables you to evidence good practice supports you in complying with legal requirements sets out expectations for all helps with evaluation
    30. 30. Resources and support Support to increase numbers Support to deepen volunteer involvement • Training and distance support • Advocacy and recruitment resources • • • • • Post card Advocacy cards Schools pack Volunteer handbook, case studies and best practice guides Promotional films • Volunteer pack • T-shirt, badge, volunteer booklet and log, Certificate • Digital platform
    31. 31. What’s in a volunteer policy? • written statement of service values and the role that volunteers play in delivering them • health and safety requirements • an explanation of expectations • roles that volunteers play and the protection and benefits they are entitled to • guidelines for recruitment and selection • information about induction, training and supervision • guidelines for recognition and reward • a code of practice
    32. 32. Recruitment Where are you going to advertise? • • • • • • In library At schools On website/social media Vinspired website Do-it website Talk to young people you are working with Which partners are you going to work with to recruit volunteers? • • • • Schools Colleges Universities Local volunteering organisations
    33. 33. Selecting young volunteers • • • • • Do you need to use application forms? How will you interview young people? Will you need parental permission? What if applicants aren’t suitable? Importance of equal opportunities
    34. 34. Keeping everyone safe Follow your local authority guidelines: • Health and Safety policy • Risk assessment • Training and induction • Child protection • DBS checking
    35. 35. Induction • • • • Do it quickly! Make it fun Train young people together Prepare a volunteer agreement
    36. 36. Support for young volunteers Think about • Group/ peer support for volunteers (mobile numbers?) • Staff support for volunteers • Service support for volunteers (including when local relationships break down)
    37. 37. Accreditation, recognition and evaluation SECTION 4
    38. 38. Accreditation Awards • • • • • • • • • Duke of Edinburgh’s Award ASDAN Activities Award Youth Achievement Award Arts Award Children’s University Local Awards Vinspired Welsh Bacc/International Bacc Saltire Award
    39. 39. Celebrating Achievement • Certificate • Awards ceremony – ask councillors/mayor/local dignitaries • Young volunteers can present medals to children and vice versa!
    40. 40. Evaluation We need to evaluate: • Numbers of young people volunteering • How many hours • Evidence of young people’s experience • Accreditation gained • Further volunteering/job opportunities For the Summer Reading Challenge we also want to monitor: • Any increase in take up and completion rate by children • Any differences volunteers make for the children taking part
    41. 41. Evaluation methods • For volunteers: • Registration form and survey  Ethnicity, gender and age  Confidence/attitudes to libraries/expectations before volunteering • Post-volunteering survey  Confidence/attitudes to libraries/skills gained after volunteering • For libraries • Evaluation form – by authority • Comments/interviews with children
    42. 42. Good luck! For more advice and resources please visit: activists