Despite changes to the way it operates, forced by the current pandemic, Aberdeenshire's Summer Reading Challenge had an excellent level of participation last year.
Run by Live Life Aberdeenshire's libraries service, the initiative was taken online for the first time, giving communities the chance to take part in a wide range of literacy themed activities, ranging from downloading an eBook to how to put up a tent in your back garden.
A cross-service team worked together to create a variety of activities to take part in while spending time at home and last year it was opened up to all age groups for the first time, having been aimed at under-16s in the past.
This meant a range of individuals, families and groups could participate together.
Aberdeenshire’s libraries service has always independently provided a challenge unique to its local audience, as opposed to the national initiative led by the Reading Agency in the UK and Scotland.
When compared with sign-ups to the national initiative running in Scotland, participation in the Aberdeenshire offering was 30% higher.
A total of 981 people took part, an even split of individuals and family groups. The authority with the next highest participation was Glasgow Libraries with 684 and then the City of Edinburgh with 557 participants.
The popularity of Live Life Aberdeenshire’s digital library resources has continued to grow while access to physical facilities is suspended.
Issues of eBooks and eAudiobooks have increased by 60%, eMusic downloads by 12% and connections to eNewspapers and eMagazines by a staggering 500%.
Due to the success of this pilot, the libraries team aims to continue offering a virtual challenge over the Summer months in 2021 and if restrictions allow, would combine this with its Click and Collect service, including physical books in the challenge activities too.
The Summer Reading Challenge was hosted on Live Life Aberdeenshire's Live Life @ Home platform, which continues to offer a range of activities for communities to take part in.