The annual "reading challenges" run by public libraries help to keep children reading through the summer and encourage around 20,000 children a year to join libraries. This year's free programme for four to 12-year-olds, Reading Planet, is run in association with Science Year and has a space-science theme, although children can read any books they choose to collect stickers for their own "reading planet" frieze. Around 4,000 UK libraries (85 per cent of the total) are taking part, and others are running their own events and promotions.

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