HAMPSHIRE Library Service is encouraging people aged 14 and over to volunteer to support the Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge.

It looks to help people gain new skills, inspire friendships and provide work experiences, as well as boost their confidence.

The project will run from mid-July to mid-September and this year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme – Space Chase – will celebrate adventure and exploration.

Typical volunteer tasks during the Summer Reading Challenge include helping sign children up, logging their progress and recommending their next book.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Library Service said: “Libraries are a great place to volunteer, and giving just a few hours of your time can make a huge difference.

“Our volunteers help out in all areas of the library - you could be helping library customers, running events or organising activities for children and adults alike.”

They added: “Being part of a dedicated team and giving something valuable back to your community is a recognised way of improving your wellbeing.”

College student Bethany Adams, 18, from Andover, has been a Summer Reading Challenge volunteer for the last three years.

Bethany typically volunteers twice a week for a couple of hours during the summer holidays.

She explained how she started volunteering: “I was at secondary school and was looking for some work experience when my teacher suggested contacting my local library as I love reading and books.

“During my first year volunteering I realised how much I liked seeing the children enjoy returning to talk about the books they had read and how I felt inspired to help them keep going through the challenge.

“I also felt I was doing something really positive and fun with my summer, and that it could help boost my CV and my job prospects.”

Prospective volunteers can sign up by visiting www.hants.gov.uk/librariesandarchives/library/aboutus/volunteering or by asking in branch.

An induction session will take place before volunteers start.