A FLASHMOB took to Central Library on Saturday afternoon to launch the start of the Summer Reading Challenge - and hope to break some records in the process.

The surprise Macarena was taken up by users young and old, as an outreach team and library staff performed in the lobby while pledges to the challenge were taken.

The scheme encourages children to read at least six books during the summer holidays - one a week - and is backed this year by the Guinness Book Of World Records.

If more than 100,000 pledges are received nationally, the scheme will earn its place in the book.

Anish Harrison, of the outreach team, led the dance on Saturday.

“The whole idea is to get as many pledges as possible for the summer reading challenge, and alongside that we wanted to do some other fun things, so over the next few weeks we will be going for other world record attempts,” she said.

“Those will be things such as the fastest time to sit on whoopee cushions, counting jelly beans, and a toilet paper tower.

“The games are going to go round and do a tour of the libraries, and there are a lot of things going on throughout the summer.

“It is intended to stop that reading dip that occurs over the summer holidays, because a lot of teachers will find reading levels drop off over that time, so it is about encouraging children to read for pleasure, which is really important, because that can make you do so much better in life.”

For more information on the Summer Reading Challenge visit swindonlibraries.wordpress.com “The challenge is to read six books over the summer holidays, and they get a medal and certificate at the end. There is a reading challenge every year, but this is the first time the Reading Agency have teamed up with a partner, after the Guinness World Records approached them.

“It doesn’t have to be a specific book, it can even be an audio book, or shared reading for the little ones.”

Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, presided over the pledges at Central Library.

“I launch this in Parliament every year as the former chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Libraries,” he said.

“The challenge encourages children to read six books over the summer holidays, and it is becoming increasingly popular. This has played a significant part in blocking the decline in library usage across the country, and we have seen a big spike in children using their local libraries. That helps to engage the parents as well, and we then see hundreds of people signing up for the first time.

“The benefits of this from an educational perspective are also really important, and this year there is the added excitement of a Guinness World Record attempt.”