Jaqui's Daily Blog

We Have Lift Off!

We have lift-off at my local library! 


The annual Summer Reading Challenge is underway and yesterday I turned up at 3 p.m. for my first stint on the volunteers desk. This is my eighth year as an SRC volunteer and the library staff all greeted me like an old friend. I felt most welcome.


I wasn’t alone on the desk, Jessica was there before me. She had been there, all ready and willing, since 2 p.m. and hadn’t had a single young visitor so she was extremely pleased to see me. Chatting to fellow volunteers in the slack moments and finding out all about them is one of the many pleasures of the Summer Reading Challenge. Frances, the truly lovely Children’s Librarian, was keen to reassure Jessica, whose first year this is, that from the heights of my many years’ experience, I would be able to tell her anything she needed to know. 


Jessica, however, had used her time wisely in the hour before I joined her, making copious notes on the Rocket Family, the heroes of this year’s Challenge. I was ashamed to admit that I hadn’t done my own homework properly so would probably be playing catch up when it came to the Rocket Family. In fact the only member of the Rocket Family I can remember (for obvious reasons) is Nana Whiz who has unruly purple hair and wears green goggly glasses. She rides a turbo bike, plays keyboard and grows weird space vegetables that have a mind of their own. She therefore reminds me of myself - minus the turbo bike, the green glasses and the keyboard. But one look at the vegetables growing in my garden proves that Nana Whiz and I are Kindred Spirits.


The theme of this year’s Challenge is Space Chase, commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Moon Landing in July 1969. One of the library staff has made a fabulous red space rocket out of cardboard to sit on our desk in which entries for the Treasure Hunt which starts off the Challenge can be posted. It is quite large, so Frances said we could move it onto the floor if it started to get in the way but that hardly seemed right, given the time and effort which must have gone into its manufacture. 


After a slow start, things picked up and by 5 p.m. we had signed up eight 4 - 12 year olds to the Challenge. All of them had learnt about it from library staff who had visited their schools - such a good job they had done exciting their interest. Now it was our job to keep up the excitement. All the littl’uns knew that one of the “rewards”they would receive for reading their books were scratch and sniff stickers. “Some of them,” I told them, seriously, “are very PONGY! Are you alright with that?” Everybody assured me that, however stinky the stickers, it would not be a problem. Not for them, maybe...


Apropos of the Moon Landing, a friend of mine told me a lovely story which I feel I must pass on to you. She had asked her little granddaughter if she knew who was the first man on the moon. Was it Tim Peake? was the answer - which was (i) not a bad guess and (ii) just goes to show how much influence Tim Peake’s astro-adventures have had on today’s youngsters. My friend explained that actually the first man to walk in the moon was Neil Armstrong.


Is he the same person as Louis Armstrong? her young’un wanted to know. Why, her grandmother asked, did she think that?


“Because we sing his song at school,” she said, “It’s called ‘Its a Wonderful World.’”


She might have been wrong - but as answers go, don’t you agree, it made Perfect Sense.

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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