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A love of reading and books – for life

Posted on 28 Oct 2021

A girl holding a bookAmbitious new Libraries Unlimited initiative supports children to read 50 books.

Instilling a life-long love of reading and books in children is the aim of an ambitious new initiative from Libraries Unlimited.

The Secret Book Quest is being launched across libraries in Devon and Torbay on Saturday 13th November. 

It’s aimed at children over the age of five, with the target of getting them to read 50 books.

Each child who signs up to the Quest will receive a booklet featuring a story that takes them on a journey through their local library. The adventure has been brought to life with beautiful illustrations by designer Emily Fox.

Lucy Banks, Reading Development Manager for Libraries Unlimited, said: “Libraries across Devon and Torbay have instilled a love of books and reading in generations of children. But we know for 2021’s children, it’s harder. They’re faced with multiple draws on their attention from tablets, computers and television, at the same time as their schooling has been disrupted by the pandemic. Many are falling behind with their reading, with government research revealing a loss of 2.2 months in reading for primary school children*, and it’s our mission to help get them back up to speed.

“We know they need help, but we also know what a treat they’re in for once they start The Secret Book Quest. That’s why we set the target high. We’re confident Devon and Torbay’s children will fall in love with reading and romp through their books to the final prize.”

When parents and carers sign children up at their local library they’ll be given their The Secret Book Quest booklet and their first sticker.

The booklet is full of puzzles, fun facts and activities. It has 10 themed ‘zones’ for children to travel through such as animals, underwater, space and technology. To complete the Quest and win a prize, they must read five books for each zone and collect all the code-stickers along the way – a total of 50 books. The final sticker reveals the answer to a puzzle – a secret phrase that they then say to library staff on their next visit to complete the Quest and get a prize. There are two certificates – one is awarded at the halfway point (25 books), and the finisher’s certificate at the end. There’s no rush to complete the quest – children can take as long as they need.

The Secret Book Quest has been made possible with funding from Tesco Community Grants and the Unwin Charitable Trust which supports projects that encourage reading and literacy. It’s completely free to take part and all books in the library count including graphic novels, audiobooks and comics.

For more information go to www.librariesunlimited.org.uk/secret-book-quest. For children who want to carry on after 50 books there are book recommendations, extra activities, new challenges and prize draws on the website.

Libraries Unlimited believes…

…in the unlimited potential of library services to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through a shared love of reading and access to high quality information and facilities.