As described in my previous blog, Libraries Week provides a fantastic opportunity to promote the value and role of libraries across the country. I have taken the opportunity in this post to roundup the announcements that were made and showcase just some of the wide variety of activities that took place. There is also a gallery showing what some of the Taskforce members did.
Snippets from around the country
Participants in Halton built a lego model of their library. This activity was even reported by Irish news!
Wiltshire libraries enjoyed a successful Libraries Week with people attending author talks, displays from the archives, a sci-fi and fantasy day, children's activities, and an official opening celebration in Devizes. In that library, there was an invasion from outer space as Daleks, Cybermen, Star Wars droids and other sci-fi heroes and villains descended on the library for the sci-fi and fantasy day. People attended the event dressed in sci-fi costumes to enjoy talks by local authors and demonstrations and talks on writing, computer art, illustration, robotics and film.
The new library in Slough, The Curve, hosted the launch of the national Bumpbooster project. This new online resource, developed for ASCEL, will help library staff support parents-to-be. It includes guidance for library staff, ideas for parents-to-be and great rhymes to sing to a bump. The team in The Curve also created a series of infographics to illustrate their first year of activity in their new library, which were on display during the week.
Libraries Week saw fun and varied celebrations all over Hampshire Libraries. BBC Radio presenter, TV personality, journalist and teen ambassador, Gemma Cairney, arrived at Basingstoke Discovery Centre to talk about how magic and messed up life can be: from mental health to families to first love, and everything in between. Discussing her latest work, ‘Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be‘, Gemma took her attitude, intelligence, humour, honesty and, above all, inspirational nature, to a whole new level!
The culmination of Libraries Week also brought about Hampshire Libraries’ 1 millionth eBook download, demonstrating perfectly the popularity and accessibility of the service. The service has offered free download service since March 2010, and is growing in use every year.
Libraries Week also saw an abundance of free taster sessions for Learning in Libraries workshops, including Tai Chi & Qi Gong, Paper Quilling, Ukulele and Online Safety for Parents & Carers. Even this variety is just a small sample of the range available throughout the term at many Hampshire branches; see their website for more detail.
Plymouth libraries demonstrated that you are never too young to join the library - sharing a photo of one of their newest members.
They also ran a Zine workshop, held bedtime story sessions (yes, pyjamas were worn), and top marks to Plympton library for their wonderful display.
Kent libraries promoted the free resources they have available to help job seekers find work, write CVs and prepare for interviews, and - in common with many library services - organised some really interesting author talks.
Barnsley libraries had a particularly successful week on social media too - this combination of libraries and chocolate was a winner! They had many hundreds of likes and retweets.
Under 5s in Rutland who visited their library were given a free bunny, and poet Gez Walsh ran a session with school children.
Cheshire East launched a new DVD loyalty card scheme and ran library bingo competition – free reservation for every line and entry into a prize draw for a £50 shopping voucher. Congleton Library had an interactive storytime with costumes and props, and Bollington also built a Lego library.
Cheltenham libraries had a range of events across the county as part of a whole month of celebrations. Here is just a sample: In partnership with Cheltenham Literature Festival popular children’s author Tracey Corderoy entertained families at Hesters Way Library who enjoyed finding out more about Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam. Nailsworth Library encouraged customers to nominate their favourite book, for inclusion in their Book of Books. And there was yarn bombing at Tetbury where even the Mayor was part of the fun.
And finally, a lovely piece of feedback for the team in Marlow library. They were sent this message from one member:
“Big thank you to you lovely ladies at the library who suggested trying the new programming micro:bit yesterday. My daughter, Bea, was super excited when she came home from school and keen to get started. The package is great - really user friendly, easy to set up and she was up and running in just a few minutes. The interface makes the basics of programming really accessible and she's already trying out lots of new things!! Here's a photo of her with a heart that she programmed for you all!!”
If you’d like to see even more examples, CILIP’s Public and Mobile Libraries group compiled a storify - containing lots more examples and photos.
Libraries Change Lives
CILIP took the opportunity to announce the winners of their annual “Libraries Change Lives” awards. All of the shortlisted projects demonstrated very powerfully the difference that libraries made in their communities. The winners were the team in HMP Norwich, who deliver weekly cognitive stimulation therapy to a previously ‘lost’ group of elderly prisoners serving life sentences, who are suffering from memory loss, dementia and depression.
Another project which announced its winners was the jointly sponsored Carnegie UK Trust/Wellcome Trust Engaging Libraries programme. What was even more exciting about this announcement is the fact that the quality of applications was so high that Wellcome committed an additional £85,000 to fund not 8-10 projects as originally planned, but 14 projects from across England, Scotland and Wales. We look forward to seeing how the projects develop.
Society of Chief Librarians (SCL)
If you didn’t have time to read them during the week, it’s worth catching up with a series of blog posts published by the SCL. They released one each day, covering a wide range of topics and illustrating each of their Universal Offers:
- Monday: Learning (Family learning report)
- Tuesday: Digital (Tackling the digital divide)
- Wednesday: Reading (Training volunteers to support reader development)
- Thursday: Information (New government contracts,) and Health (Engaging libraries projects announced)
- Friday: Culture (Offer launch and cultural partnerships)
- Saturday: Six Steps (Ways to help people to keep reading after sight loss)
- Sunday: Children's Promise (Summer Reading Challenge and Bump Booster)
Luna loves library day
Some of the colourful graphics available to libraries for free to promote Libraries Week were produced by Anderson Press, as they promoted the new book by poet and performer Joseph Coelho. I bumped into this busy author several times during the week as he read his story: Luna Loves Library Day (with the help of several giant props) to audiences of rapt children.
London Libraries: Worlds of Possibilities
As outlined in this blog post from Anthony Hopkins, London Libraries gained additional funding to support creation of a festival and promotion of activities across the capital. I’m hoping they will share their reflections on the week in a blog post shortly.
During Libraries Week, Taskforce members were also keen to show their support, and we asked them to send in photos when they visited any libraries - a selection are shown here:
Minister John Glen visited Pimlico Library, who were one of the leading participants in the London libraries festival: Worlds of Possibilities. He saw a storytime led by author Smriti Prasadam Halls, an intense question and answer session of poet Tommy Sissons from a group of teenage students, and toured the library with members of Westminster library services.
Taskforce CEO, Kathy Settle, also attended the activities in Pimlico (above left), plus she shared photos from other libraries visited during the week: Wimbledon library to catch up on their Libraries Week activities (above right), and John Harvard library to see a performance of ‘Reunion and the Dark Pony’. Finally, at the weekend, she visited Skipton library, where she found this wonderful display (below) of comments from library users - including: "Libraries have brought me relaxation and joy throughout my life from as young as I can remember to the present (I'm 44 now). It's a place where all ages meet and a wonderful service. Books are full of wonder and libraries house that wonder!"
Our new chair, Kim Bromley Derry (Chief Executive of Newham Council and chair of the Libraries Taskforce), visited Stratford Library/Community Neighbourhood Centre and met the team there.
Neil MacInnes (Strategic Lead - Libraries, Galleries and Culture in Manchester, and president of the Society of Chief Librarians) was in Wimbledon library for the end of the Worlds of Possibilities festival, and had his photo taken in his own library.
Nick Poole (Chief Executive of CILIP, the library and information association) visited Cardiff library and made a short video.
Last but not least, new member Dr Neil Churchill (NHS) visited his local library.
Other Taskforce members contributed in different ways. Arts Council England published a blog post from their Chair, Sir Nick Serota: Increasing access to arts and culture with libraries, and the Local Government Association published an article: LGA responds to first annual Libraries Week.
Not just public libraries
The celebration was not just about public libraries. Several newspapers took part and published lists of beautiful libraries to visit: 10 stunning British libraries every bibliophile needs to visit. The ArtFund shared their selection too - a very diverse group. The British Library shared some of their treasures, and I spotted health libraries, school libraries and even an architecture historian who challenged us to identify 4 post-war libraries from photos of tantalising small parts of them [not sure he ever fully revealed the answers!].
Spotted in a comment on a piece in Public Libraries News:
“While driving home on Monday, Simon Mayo on Radio 2 was asking for song choices for libraries and librarians in celebration of Libraries Week. I caught:
- Keep the customer satisfied (Simon and Garfunkel) – from a retired librarian in Flint whose name I’ve forgotten
- Hush (Deep Purple) – with apologies for the quiet reference, “libraries aren’t like that anymore”
- Wrapped up in books (Belle and Sebastian)
- I suspect the other one was Beg, Steal or Borrow by the New Seekers…
UPDATE: CILIP have also published a blog rounding up activities during Libraries Week - and including a survey where they ask for feedback from those who took part. Most importantly, it also includes the dates for next year's celebrations: 8-13 October 2018.