Daren Kearl is the Community Development Librarian for Canterbury and Swale District and is based at the Beaney. His role includes working with partners and the local community.
Last Friday (10th July) I visited a group of adults at Canterbury Adult Education Centre to congratulate them on completing the Six Book Challenge. The Challenge is part of Adult Education’s Skills Plus course which helps adults to improve their English and maths skills.
Between January and July every year we support a national initiative which encourages adults to improve their literacy skills or just get into reading for pleasure.
Groups and individuals can sign up and receive a reading diary to record their achievements. Adults are free to read anything they like such as newspapers, poems, plays, websites, books and much more. Once they have read six, we celebrate this with a presentation of a certificate and some incentives such as a mug, tote bag and entry into a prize draw.
At the presentations it is fantastic to hear from the participants who have persevered in developing their reading skills. Through the challenge, and with the help of tutors, many have been converted to books and have a new love for reading. Their newly found confidence and sense of achievement is more than apparent and it is brilliant to hear their plans of what they are going to do next – career ideas, hobbies, travel etc. Being able to read really does open up so many more possibilities and the library can be there to help at any time in the journey.