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‘Animal Agents’ help to launch the 2017 Summer Reading Challenge in Devon Libraries

By July 5, 2017March 25th, 2021Member News & Updates

Children and families across Devon are invited to take part in the celebrations to mark the launch of the 2017 Summer Reading Challenge in Devon Libraries. 

The Summer Reading Challenge, run by The Reading Agency in partnership with libraries, encourages children to read six books of their choice during the summer holidays. This year’s Animal Agents themed Challenge launches across the UK on Saturday 15th July.

To celebrate, Libraries Unlimited, the charity responsible for running Devon Libraries, is kicking off the summer activities with a range of events and activities across the county. St Thomas Library will start off with a launch day on 15th July where children can take part in a Summer Reading Challenge Animal Agent themed character hunt.

Exeter Library will be holding craft sessions on 31st July, 7th and 21st August and on 14th August there will be The Ugly Duckling and other tales free shadow puppetry workshops with Above Bounds Theatre Collective.

Ottery St Mary Library will be hosting a ‘cops and robbers’ event on Monday 14th August and Friday 1st September and local author and illustrator Carolyn King will be at the Library on 19th August to read her latest book about a little bee who wants an adventure.

Budleigh Salterton Library will have a visit from Armchair Theatre Puppets who will be presenting Burglar Bill on Wednesday 16th August from 2.30 to 3.30.

Other events across the county include a celebration at Barnstaple Library where children will have the opportunity to meet animals from Exmoor Zoo, Exmoor Pony Centre, Really Wild Learning and Safe Haven Exotics.

The aim of the Summer Reading Challenge is to encourage children to continue reading for pleasure during the holidays. Children aged between four and eleven can enrol for free at any Devon Library, and will be given special Animal Agents challenge packs, illustrated by the UK’s best-selling children’s illustrator Tony Ross.

This year, the Animal Agents are looking for help in solving a mysterious case, and children that join in with the fun will be given new clues each time they visit the Library to pick up new books, and will also receive special stickers and incentives along the way. On completing the challenge, all children will receive a special medal and certificate.  

Ciara Eastell, Chief Executive of Libraries Unlimited said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is such an important initiative, and one that we love to celebrate and support throughout Devon Libraries. Reading is a key part of children’s learning, not only does it enhance their literacy levels, it can help to encourage empathy and creativity, improves concentration and can teach children about the world around them. The Summer Reading Challenge is a great opportunity to ensure that reading habits don’t drop off during the summer. It’s completely free, and children are supported and encouraged by our Library staff to ensure they find books that they love to read, in the hope that their reading continues long after the Challenge is over.”   

Last year, 755,208 children across the UK took part in the Summer Reading Challenge, including 87,042 in the south west and more than 11,000 children in Devon. Libraries across Devon held a combined 262 events and more than 6,500 children attended events within Devon Libraries.

This year, every Library has events and activities lined up to encourage children to take part and complete the challenge. Library staff in all 50 of Devon’s Libraries will be on hand throughout the holidays to help recommend books and support young readers.


For full events listings, visit and see what’s on at your local Library.

Exeter Library

  • 31st July, 7th August & 21st August: 10:00 – 15:00, Animal Agents Craft Sessions, in the Rougemont Room
  • 14th August: 11:00 – 14:00, The Ugly Duckling & other tales, Free Shadow Puppetry Workshop with Above Bounds Theatre Collective

St Thomas Library

  •          15th July – launch day with Summer Reading Challenge character hunt
  •          22nd July and onwards – St Thomas treasure hunt. Young borrowers can pick up an entry form from the Library and hunt for detective themed pictures in local shops and businesses
  •          25th July, 8th August & 22nd August – Summer Reading Challenge related craft: snake sock puppets detective gadgets and more
  •          29th July 13:30 – screening of Basil the Great Mouse Detective
  •         PLUS other competitions, hunts and colouring throughout. We will also have our Finishers' Gallery up again in the children's area; with a photo of each finisher in a gilt frame and detective disguise of their choosing

Budleigh Salterton Library

  •          16th August, 14:30 – 15:30: Armchair Theatre Puppets present Burglar Bill. Tickets £2.

Ottery St Mary Library

  •        14th August, 11:00, Summer Reading Challenge Cops and Robbers – come along and be finger-printed and have your mug shot taken, (subject to parental approval) by Maria our local PCSO. Try on a small size police uniform and take away some freebies too. 


Find more information about the Summer Reading Challenge, visit For more information about Libraries Unlimited, visit or follow Libraries Unlimited on Twitter @LibrariesUnLtd or Facebook/LibrariesUnlimited.