The Reading Agency’s innovative Reading Activist programme is funded by Big Lottery in 18 authorities across 4 regions. This article describes the success of Gateshead Central Library’s Reading Activists – a group of 12 young people aged 13-19 who meet regularly to plan and organise events at the Library for young people. This has enabled the young people of Gateshead to shape their own space and service at Gateshead Central Library.
Over the last 18 months the group have hosted a live gig night with performing arts students from Gateshead College, waved farewell to Harry Potter in style with their Muggle Mania event, celebrated the cult film and poem The Nightmare Before Christmas and turned the library pink and sparkly for a Prom Fayre; complete with fashion shows, hair demonstrations from Toni and Guy, makeovers from the Body Shop and tutorials from Lush. They promote their events in schools and on social media, attracting 100+ peers from across the North East.