Main content

Reading challenge sees number of local residents involved treble

The number of Islington residents who successfully completed the national ‘Reading Ahead’ challenge has trebled in just two years – rocketing from 37 in 2014 to nearly 130 this year – new figures reveal. The local scheme was carried out in partnership between Islington Council’s Library and Adult and Community Learning services and City and Islington College.

The largest number of participants in the scheme was local women, aged between 16 and 19 and 25 to 44 years old, and well over half of all those who took part have since joined an Islington library or City and Islington College library.

Many of those who participated included older people, students, and people for whom English is not their first language.

Those who successfully completed the challenge were entered into a national prize draw and presented with a certificate by Islington Mayor, Cllr Kat Fletcher, at a special ceremony with poet Paul Lyalls at the Town Hall.

Another 162 people who completed the reading challenge – which requires participants to read six forms of printed material, from books to magazines to plays to poetry, and record these in a reading diary – were inmates at HMP Pentonville.

Islington Council’s executive member for economic development, Cllr Asima Shaikh, said: “It is fantastic to see more and more people getting involved in this brilliant scheme.

“Well done to all those who took part and completed it – perhaps next year we can set a national best and show that Islington really is the borough for booklovers.

“Reading is the key to unlocking new worlds of knowledge, adventure, and shared experience, and there’s always more we can be doing as a community to encourage our friends and family to pick up a book.”

As well as a wealth of books, many of Islington’s libraries also offer a rich range of activities for all ages, including ‘Baby Bounce’ sessions, homework clubs for children, and monthly reading group meetings for young people and adults.

All libraries have free Wi-Fi and computer access. Islington Computer Skills Centre at Finsbury Library hosts Adult and Community Learning vocational training and computer classes. First Steps centre at Central Library offers Adult and Community Learning vocational training and computer classes as well as ESOL, English, and Maths.

Anyone interested in signing up for next year’s challenge should call into the local library for details or follow us on Twitter @islingtonlibs

Find out about joining Islington libraries, opening times, accessibility and events via

For more information contact:

Eugene Grant
Senior Media Officer
0207 527 2530