West Sussex Libraries launches countywide reading challenge for 2023

This month, West Sussex Libraries are challenging residents across the county to join the 2023 reading challenge.

The challenge is to read twelve books in twelve months and the theme of each month differs to include genres that readers may have never experienced before, including books that celebrate the great outdoors, a prize-winning book, and a book with a Sussex connection.

The aim of the challenge is to encourage a love of reading in adults and to improve people’s mental health as The Reading Agency points out that non-readers are 28% more likely to report feelings of depression.

Duncan Crow, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire & Rescue, said: “For the past four years, all 36 West Sussex Libraries have been running an adult reading challenge in various districts and boroughs which has been very well received and has seen more than 1,000 library members from Adur and Worthing, Chichester District, Mid Sussex and Horsham District take part.

“This year libraries felt it was the right time to roll the challenge out to all residents across West Sussex so that everyone can come together and share their love of books with likeminded individuals, whilst also participating in the joys of reading; and with the cost of living pressures causing tighter budgets, this challenge is definitely worth signing up to as it is completely free to participate in as a library member and you can borrow up to 20 items at a time.”

The themes over the next 12 months are:

January – A book to make you feel good
February – A book that has been adapted for the screen
March – A book that celebrates the great outdoors
April – A children’s classic
May – A book set in another country
June – A book with a Sussex connection
July – A book you’ve judged by its cover
August – A book set by the sea
September – A prize-winning book
October – A book about books
November – A book set in the past or future
December – A biography
There is also a wildcard option, where readers can substitute any month of the challenge with any book from their own to-read list.

Participants can also share their love of books with other challenge members and library staff by emailing reviews and recommendations, joining the Facebook Virtual Reading Group, or having a conversation in their local West Sussex library.

Residents of West Sussex who are not already library members can sign up for free either online or at their local library.

For further information or to join the challenge, visit the West Sussex Libraries Reading Challenge website.