Escape with a book

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Invercargill City Libraries and Archives customer experience assistant Grace Roscoe with the map she painted to track progress of this year's The Great Escape Summer Reading challenge Wild About Reading. The map, featuring native flora and fauna, was created using an upcycled kitchen blind. Also pictured are some of the books which will be given away as prizes.

THE team at the Invercargill Public Library have come up with a novel way to encourage children’s reading during the school holidays.

Customer experience manager Cynthia Smith said they were once again running The Great Escape Summer Reading challenge Wild About Reading, with a new look this year.

Library staff have created an interactive New Zealand map – each book read moves the library’s bus 30km around the country.

“Already we have read right around New Zealand including Stewart Island and back up to Kaikoura. So we’re hopeful that we’ll do a second round,” Mrs Smith said.

Community connections co-ordinator Jay Coote said the main goal of the challenge was to help fill the reading gap while children were away from school.

The Great Escape was being run in the Southland District and Gore, however each area had come up with its own challenge, they said.

Invercargill’s challenge is open to individuals and families. The goal is to read eight books with incentives for reaching half-way.

Readers also receive a free book for their first completed entry, and they can enter as many times as they like. The challenge is on until Wednesday, January 31.

Mrs Smith said the family category had been a popular introduction this year.

“Everybody’s reading in the family goes together. That’s working really nicely.”

Adults were also being rewarded for their holiday reading with the summer edition of the Adults’ Reading Challenge.

Library team members had set challenges such as reading a classic, a book set in the future and an award winner, with library vouchers and entries into the prize draw to be earned along the way.

“Most of [the entrants] are readers anyway who take part in this, so they enjoy the opportunity to read outside their normal and it will just give them some ideas.”

She said they would be doing an adults’ challenge seasonally, so it would change four times a year. This season’s challenge runs until February 28.

They also hoped to encourage people’s love of reading with a Valentine’s-themed promotion next month.

“Our next big thing is Blind Date with a book,” Mr Coote said.

People can pick a book by reading a quick description of it, however they wouldn’t be able to judge it by its cover.

“The books are wrapped in brown paper, so it’s very much lucky dip,” Mrs Smith said.

Comment forms were available for people to rate their date and provide feedback on the match.

“If you don’t like the book right from the start no hard feelings, you can just bring it back through the slot,” Mr Coote said.

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