Fragmentation threat to Summer Reading scheme

Fragmentation threat to Summer Reading scheme

The Reading Agency has warned library service cutbacks could cause future problems in its Summer Reading Challenge, as it revealed 97% of library authorities will participate in this year's scheme.

It will be launched on Monday at the House of Commons. The number is up fractionally on 2010 when 95% took part, with support by TescoBank enabling more local authorities in Scotland to take part.

The SRC encourages children to read six books through the summer holidays, when traditionally literacy skills are at risk of slipping back, with 760,000 children aged 4-11 taking part. The theme of this year’s challenge is Circus Stars.

However, Miranda McKearney, director of The Reading Agency, warned library service cutbacks meant there would be challenges to the project in 2012 because the service would be less unified. She said: “The library world is likely to start fragmenting into different providers, and we have to work out a way of reaching local children whatever model is being used to deliver the library service—from the traditional local authority-run service, to merged library services, trusts, privately run and community-run libraries."

She added there was support for the economic benefits of a shared scheme. “Collective, cost-saving action is seen as being a really important way of moving forward in an age of austerity.”