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East Swindon | November 20, 2017

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Library service launches adult literacy drive with Cllr Dale Heenan and Author Andy Mcnab

Library service launches adult literacy drive with Cllr Dale Heenan and Author Andy Mcnab
Dale Heenan
  • On January 8, 2015

Swindon Libraries and Information Service is joining up with bestselling authors and national charity The Reading Agency to encourage more adults in Swindon to read.

The 2015 Six Book Challenge launches this month (Jan) with the aim of encouraging less confident readers to develop a new reading habit and improve their skills at the same time.

Participants are invited to pick six books of their choice and complete a reading diary in order to receive incentives along the way and a certificate. Bestselling authors Martina Cole, Andy McNab and Adele Parks are official ambassadors of the 2015 Six Book Challenge. Everyone who completes the challenge will receive a certificate signed by the authors.

People in Swindon can register now from any of the town’s libraries, while those studying at New College and Swindon College Learning Resource Centres can also register there.

Martina Cole said: “I really wanted to become an ambassador for The Reading Agency because reading is such a big part of my life.

“The wonderful thing about the Six Book Challenge is that people who don’t normally read, or who think that reading isn’t their bag, are encouraged to pick up a book.

“When you read a book you have to picture it all in your own mind. No one tells you what you’re seeing or what you should be feeling. That’s the secret of reading – it’s such a personal thing.”

Ninety per cent of respondents in a recent survey said that they were more confident about reading after taking part in the Six Book Challenge. The scheme has grown five-fold with at least 40,000 people across the UK taking part last year via public libraries, colleges, workplaces, prisons, army education centres and other settings.

“The Six Book Challenge is a fantastic scheme,” said Andy McNab. “I’ve seen it working in prisons, the Army and lots of workplaces where it’s got people into reading for the very first time. I know what that feeling’s like and we need to make sure that many more people get the chance to change their lives too.”

The Reading Agency’s Six Book Challenge is increasingly recognised as a way to tackle the UK’s continuing skills deficit. It has recently been cited as an example of a multifaceted approach to adult learning in a report from the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee calling for a more flexible, better funded and joined-up way of tackling what it calls the ‘alarmingly low levels of adult literacy and numeracy in England’.

Cllr Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for libraries, said: “I am really pleased that we are once again supporting the Six Book Challenge as reading is a fundamental skill that is often taken for granted but, at the same time, can change lives.

“Being able to read not only opens people’s minds, it can open up all kinds of opportunities whether they be educational or work-based. I wholeheartedly support this tremendous scheme and would encourage anyone who wants to get back into reading to sign up.”

For more online information about the Six Book Challenge, please visit: The website for Six Book Challenge participants can be found