Founder of Summer Reading Challenge quits in September after 20 years to go freelance
Anne Sarrag, head of children’s reading at The Reading Agency and founder of the Summer Reading Challenge, one of the UK’s biggest children’s reading programmes, has announced that she will be leaving the national charity in September to pursue a freelance career.
She set up the Summer Reading Challenge in 1999, which was was an instant success, with 440,000 children taking part in the first year. She has managed it ever since, working in partnership with Libraries Connected and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL). The Challenge reached 700,000 children in 2018 and celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2019.
Sarrag said: "Stepping down has been an enormously difficult decision to take, but after 20 years developing the Challenge, I’m looking forward to taking some time out; I will be going freelance, spending time with family and exploring some new ideas around children’s reading for pleasure. The 20th anniversary of the Challenge is a good moment to reflect on how far it’s come. We’ve recently carried out a full stakeholder review which showed the Challenge remains hugely popular, and there is appetite for expansion and growth.
"The Summer Reading Challenge is a team operation and I am so grateful to everyone who has worked to make it happen over the last 20 years. From the start, children’s publishers saw its value and supported the book collections. This commitment, plus the enthusiasm from a small cohort of YLG (Youth Libraries Group) and ASCEL members, helped it get off the ground. It’s been a delight to see so many children and families get into the reading habit and libraries embrace the Challenge as one of their core activities. I will always continue to champion and support the Challenge in any way I can. Meanwhile I’m very pleased to be leaving the Challenge in very capable hands."
The Reading Agency is now advertising for a head of children’s and young people’s reading, to run the SRC. More details on its website.