FamilyLife Local News

The Summer Reading Challenge goes digital

With many summer holiday activities now difficult to plan, at least children can still get their noses into a good book… or six! The annual Summer Reading Challenge in Hampshire’s libraries is coming – and this time there’s the option to do it online. The aim is to read any six books between 1 July and 13 September, either from your local library or from the online collection, with children receiving a medal and certificate when they cross the finish line

Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage, Councillor Seán Woodward, said: “We are looking forward to the 2020 Summer Reading Challenge, with its ‘Silly Squad’ theme and new digital sign-up option. Staff are working hard to ensure the digital content and activities are easily available to everyone online, as well as in our branches, which will soon be opening for short visits.

“The annual challenge is a fantastic way for Hampshire school pupils to boost their reading through the holidays, dive into their own fictional and non-fictional adventures, and connect with Hampshire libraries in a safe space online.”

This year, the challenge features extra special characters ‘The Silly Squad’, designed by the award-winning author and illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson, creator of Amelia Fang and Evil Emperor Penguin.

Children can access the challenge at With many children expected to take advantage of this new digital option, an additional £50,000 is being invested in children’s eBooks, eAudio and eMagazines in the first three weeks of July. A host of online activities is also available to complement the challenge – quizzes; book reviews; colouring-in and story-times from Hampshire Library Service.

Those who do not have access to the online library can use the Ready Reads’ service to collect a bag of books selected by staff at their local library. From 6 July, most council-run libraries will also be open for short visits.

Last year’s challenge saw 25,710 of children taking part in Hampshire libraries, and 172,100 books read.

Cllr Woodward added: “As well as the challenge, there are all kinds of activities on offer this summer through the @HantsLibraries Facebook page, including recorded Storytime readings, Baby Rhyme Time, Virtual Construction Club, Code Club and Mini Craft Corner.

“Hampshire Libraries also has many e-books, audio books and magazines available for free download. I would encourage everyone who lives, works or studies in Hampshire to sign up to be a library member so that they can start enjoying these brilliant resources.”