Anne Sarrag, head of children’s reading at The Reading Agency and founder of the Summer Reading Challenge, is stepping down from her post in September to pursue a freelance career.
“Stepping down has been an enormously difficult decision to take, but after 20 years developing the Challenge, I’m looking forward to taking some time out; I will be going freelance, spending time with family and exploring some new ideas around children’s reading for pleasure,” she said.
“The Summer Reading Challenge is a team operation and I am so grateful to everyone who has worked to make it happen over the last 20 years. From the start, children’s publishers saw its value and supported the book collections. This commitment, plus the enthusiasm from a small cohort of YLG (Youth Libraries Group) and ASCEL members, helped it get off the ground. It’s been a delight to see so many children and families get into the reading habit and libraries embrace the Challenge as one of their core activities. I will always continue to champion and support the Challenge in any way I can. Meanwhile I’m very pleased to be leaving the Challenge in very capable hands.”
Sarrag launched the Summer Reading Challenge in 1999 to encourage children to read and use their local libraries over the summer holidays.
Last year 760,000 children across the UK took part and nearly 87,000 of those joined the library for the first time. The Reading Agency undertook a review of the challenge, as they do every four years, and Sarrag said last May that the focus was on “future-proofing the challenge as authorities look at ways of sustaining library services in time of austerity”.
The review is published here by The Reading Agency, which is currently advertising for a new Head of Children’s and Young People’s Reading.