National Reading Champions Quiz: Q&A with Lin Smith, the East Midlands Regional Coordinator

15 Apr 2021

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Lin Smith is a part of our fantastic National Reading Champions Quiz. Taking part in the brilliant inaugural year, Lin plays an important and special role in inspiring children and schools celebrate their love of reading. Lin is helping recruit schools and honouring the hard work of teachers and librarians, in the East Midlands. We interviewed her to find out more...

Tell me about your role in the quiz?

My name is Lin and I am the organiser for the East Midlands heat. I have been involved with a national reading quiz for over ten years. Firstly as a competing team leader as a school librarian but latterly just as a co-ordinator to help make a Quiz happen.

In your opinion, what makes the National Reading Champions Quiz so special?

One of the huge plusses in taking part in a Quiz is that it often gives differently abled children a chance to represent their school in a wider arena. Although good all-rounder students are often also good readers some competitors may be limited by physical differences or other aptitudes which mean they may not shine in sport or theatrical events. The latter being frequently lauded and displayed around schools and to a local audience.

If you were taking part in the quiz, what would your strongest round of questions be?

If I was taking part I would like to think that my general knowledge was pretty good.

If you were 10-14 now, and had to pick just one book to add to your bookshelf, what would it be?

If I was the correct age group I would grab a copy of the Hunger Games to promote to someone who had not read it. I don’t think one should ever be frightened to admit that you enjoy reading.

What is your message to keen readers?

Through reading you can escape the life you are in and more importantly experience someone else’s life or situation without danger… or even leaving your room. Reading widely allows you to explore the world and different opinions and helps you to form your own.

What are your earliest memories of stories and reading?

My first memories of reading are borrowing Little Miss Moppet by Beatrix Potter from the branch library. After that, The Tales of Little Grey Rabbit by Alison Uttley became firm favourites. I owned very few books, although Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland and What Katy Did were exceptions.

There are two huge gifts I had in my reading development. The first was that my father and grandfather understood the joy of reading, so I had excellent role models. The second was due to living a mere 500 metres from the local library, which was open every day except Sundays. I could walk there at quite a young age without having to cross a road so was allowed to visit on my own from early on. I was fascinated to know what happened on the other side of the library desk….. it may be that was why I became a librarian!

The value of serendipity that a library offers must never be taken for granted. You can enjoy the challenge of harder books and themes and then settle back with an old favourite from time to time. If you also have staff who guide and encourage readers to try out new offerings then you are following the true philosophy and meaning of the word ‘education’.