Tag Archives: events

Speak Up For Libraries Conference – 14th Nov 2015

The fifth national conference for public library users, workers and campaigners – organised by a network of campaigners and national organisations: Campaign for the Book (Alan Gibbons), CILIP,  The Library Campaign, Unison and Voices for the Library.

Deep and damaging cuts have already been made, But there are signs that people are starting to realise what public service cuts really mean. The political scene is getting a shake-up. Campaigners are as determined as ever. And finally, there’s a national agency tasked with getting action for libraries. Here’s campaigners’ chance to meet the people in charge of it – and lots of other key people!

The key session is the first-ever national campaigners’ dialogue with the top people in the
Libraries Taskforce – Paul Blantern, Chair, and Kathy Settle, Chief Executive.

The Taskforce is the new agency charged with bringing real improvement – and funds – into
libraries. By November, it will have published its first report. So it’s time to tell Paul and
Kathy what campaigners think – and want them to do.

Also talking to a national meeting of campaigners for the first time – Nick Poole, new
broom Chief Executive of CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals).

PLUS: Alan Gibbons, outspoken author, education consultant and Campaign for the Book.

PLUS: John Dougherty, author, library advocate, poet and writer of songs (including the classic ‘What’s wrong with Ed Vaizey?’) – complete with guitar.

Places are limited – advance booking is essential. Places allocated on a strictly first come, first served basis, on receipt of payment. Cost: £20 EARLY BIRD (unchanged since last year) including tea & coffee breaks and a pretty good sandwich lunch. £25 AFTER 9 OCTOBER.

Full details & online booking form: www.speakupforlibraries.org

FOLLOW Speak Up For Libraries:

The Library Campaign is hosting a get-together, straight after the
conference ends, for those who want to network further.

As always, the day is planned so that you can meet, network and share your ideas, before moving into a face-to-face dialogue with some of the people best-placed to get action for libraries.

Speak Up For Libraries

Speak Up For Libraries Conference, 23rd November 2013

Public libraries are facing an uncertain future. While austerity continues and the cuts bite deeper library services are needed more than ever. High quality libraries fight illiteracy, support learners and are essential services in communities across the country.

Speak Up For Libraries is a coalition of organisations working to protect library services and staff, now and in the future. We are holding a conference to support those that care about their libraries – including library users, campaigners and staff – to understand more about the challenges facing libraries, what can be done and to set a national agenda. The conference takes place 10am – 4.30pm on Saturday 23 November 2013 in central London.

At the conference you will…

  • Hear what experts think what the future for public libraries looks like.
  • Hear from senior figures in libraries about what their organisations are planning for the coming years.
  • Meet Speak Up For Libraries organisations and talk to others about what they offer and their plans.
  • Have the chance to ask speakers your questions.
  • Discuss what local campaigns need.
  • Set an agenda for campaigners and organisations to pursue.

Speak Up For Libraries organisations include the Campaign for the Book, CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals, the Library Campaign, UNISON and Voices for the Library.

To register please visit https://speakupforlibraries.eventbrite.co.uk/ 

Speak Up For Libraries conference booking now open #SUFLConf

As part of the Speak Up For Libraries coalition, Voices For The Library are pleased to announce that authors Philip Ardagh and Bali Rai will be joining the line up at the Speak Up For Libraries conference in London on Saturday 10 November 2012 to champion public library services and library staff. The day-long event will pull together library campaigners and supporters from across the UK and give them the opportunity to build on their existing campaigning skills and tactics, share ideas and strategies, and focus on a way forward to make their local campaign as effective as possible, with the goal of ensuring library services are supported, protected and preserved now and in the future.

As well as providing an update on the state of the UK library service and the extensive work undertaken by campaigners across the UK to protect libraries in the past twelve months, there will be a range of sessions exploring a variety of topics from the law and legal challenges, volunteers, alternative forms of governance including privatisation and outsourcing, influencing decision-makers, and how best to utilise local support in a community to protect services under threat.

Further details of the conference and booking details can be found on the Speak Up For Libraries site.

The Speak Up For Libraries coalition is made up of individual library campaigners Elizabeth Ash and Mar Dixon, Campaign for the Book, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), The Library Campaign, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI), UNISON, and Voices for the Library.

Speak Up For Libraries logo

We will Speak Up For Libraries #librarieslobby

A rally and lobby of Parliament will take place tomorrow (Tuesday 13 March) in Westminster to highlight the value of public libraries and the important role they play. The event aims to persuade MPs to take action to protect public library services during these times of public sector cuts. Anybody who supports public libraries is welcome to attend.

The rally will take place from 12 noon, at Central Hall Westminster, Storey’s Gate Westminster, London SW1H 9NH. The lobby of Parliament will start at 2.30pm. Prior to the rally and lobby, Ed Vaizey’s evidence session for the Inquiry into library closures will be screened live from 10.30am in Central Hall Westminster.

The lobby has been organised by the Speak Up For Libraries coalition, an alliance of organisations and campaigners working to protect libraries and library staff. Voices For The Library are part of this coalition.

Since forming Voices For The Library, we have constantly had to defend public libraries against those in power who do not seem to understand their value. We’ve seen local campaigns emerge throughout the country in response to these cuts – campaigners fighting for their own local libraries against authorities who do not understand the purpose of libraries, and do not understand how libraries and trained library staff benefit library users, the local community, local economy and the UK as a whole. Many of these campaigners have been put into a position where they are effectively acting as superintendent to their own library service, despite this being the responsibility of Jeremy Hunt & Ed Vaizey. Local authorities have not listened to local campaigners concerns. Neither have Jeremy Hunt, Ed Vaizey or the DCMS. So now, as part of Speak Up For Libraries, we must take this to Parliament to ask MP’s to make a stand and help protect the future of the nation’s threatened public libraries.

We feel it’s important to attend tomorrow to show those who dismiss public libraries as irrelevant just how important they are and why they are essential. We would urge you to attend if you can – the more people there are there, the louder our voices will be and the clearer the message will be that we will continue to fight and Speak Up For Libraries. If you are coming please sign up on the Speak Up For Libraries site.

However, if you can’t attend, you can still show your support by doing the following:

However you chose to do it on the day, please Speak Up For Libraries!

Voices for the Library in the Press

The Telegraph’s Martin Chilton mentioned Voices for the Library in yesterday’s piece Library campaigners helped by Nick Cave. The article highlights the success and celebrity endorsements of campaigns against public library cuts in places such as Gloucestershire, the Isle of White, Brent, Kensal Rise, and Oxfordshire.

For more information on National Libraries Day in February 2012, please see our National Love Libraries Day page. You can also find links to local campaigns on our website’s Campaigns page.

Voices for the Library at Hay Festival

Just a brief update for those who don’t already know that Voices for the Library are down at the Hay Festival at the moment, promoting the value of public libraries, asking people to pledge their support to libraries and helping people set up local campaign groups and challenge cuts and closures in their area.

We’ve got a brilliant collection of stories from people young and old, about why they love their particular library, why they think libraries are important to society and what libraries mean to them. These stories will be added to our site when we get home, and will then be used in talks that the Voices team give at conferences and public events, and in publicity material to show just how much people value their libraries and why National Libraries Week is going to be such a vibrant and far-reaching series of events next February.

Here are some photos of what we’ve been up to so far, and some of our favourite stories. More photos are in the Voices for the Library flickr pool.

Ellis, 4, is learning to write. He told us that he loves going to his library and can't imagine why the council want to close it.

Mavis works at a primary school, where on registration day she gives out membership forms to the local public library too. She told us that parents and grandparents queue up to join, as well as the children. Keira, 9, told us that she loves her library because instead of spending all her pocket money on books, she can go to the library and get them for free!

Roland, 83, told us that his wife Joan uses three of Epsom's public libraries several times a week. They are under threat of closure, which he thinks is a disgrace.

“As an only child in a farmhouse with no books but the Bible and the ‘Hereford Times’, the mobile library changed my life. I was the first person ever to get a degree in my family.” Suzy Davies

“I met my husband in a library. My parents, children and grandchildren have all enjoyed and made good use of libraries. Libraries are an incomparable source of information, knowledge and inspiration. Let’s keep it that way!” William & Beryl

“Libraries offer access to books for everyone – as  primary school teacher I think it’s a tragedy and a disgrace that they are under threat. Books offer education, information, enjoyment and escapism and should not be denied to any child, irrelevant of where they live or who they are.” Ruth Blayney

“Walking into the library is like walking into a sweetshop…but so much better! A thousand different worlds ready & waiting for me to pick them up and travel into them, for free!!!”

“LIBRARIES GAVE US POWER. Stories are a way of putting things into boxes so that we can better understand (nicked from Patrick Ness).” Jayne

“My library is very important. You should keep them because they are where people go to borrow books, rent dvds and study. Keep them open. They mean SO much to people.” Maya, age 10.

“Libraries = access to the world.”

“Each of my four children have got a library ticket on the day of their six week check. We have to fight to save our libraries.” Lu O’Shea

Communities, Cartoons and Cheese

Public libraries frequently host or put on a range of events and activities that are wide in scope, audience and purpose. These avenues of informal learning, recreation, and social life show the library’s important role as a hub within the community – of far greater impact on the life of the local area than traditional stereotypical views would suggest. Here are just a few current and recent events from libraries around the UK:

Greasby Library in Wirral will be hosting an event showcasing the history of Wirral’s Lidos (open-air swimming pools) on Monday 6th of June – presenting the history of the area for education, entertainment and discussion.

The Crowhurst Community Agriculture group will be at Ore Library in Hastings on Saturday 4th of June to share their expertise. Take advantage of their advice, experience, hints and tips – there will also be a Plant Swap, so bring along some plants/cuttings/seeds and join in!

The Carnegie Library in Ayr hosted a kids’ cartoon workshop on the 27th May, led by a prominent local artist and citizen (who was actually awarded ‘Citizen of the Year’ a few years ago!). This gave the children an opportunity to learn and practice new creative skills whilst also engaging with their local community.

Several of Gloucestershire’s libraries are promoting a series of childrens events (between the 31st of May and the 3rd of June) celebrating local sporting heroes. This will focus on some interesting characters including an ex-commando surfing legend, a Wimbledon champion and the fingerless navigator who sailed solo across the Atlantic in 1899. There will also be fun traditional local sports events, not the least of which will be the cheese rolling! http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/libraries/utilities/action/act_download.cfm?mediaid=41349

Barnstaple Library in Devon is starting a Work Club service aimed at helping people get back into work or looking for their first job. This will include help with CV writing, interview techniques, volunteering opportunities and assistance with online application forms, as well as computer access in order to search for vacancies and help improve basic IT skills. http://www.devon.gov.uk/index/cultureheritage/libraries/entertainment/index/cultureheritage/libraries/yourlocallibrary/north_devon_libraries/barnstaple_library/events_at_barnstaple_library.htm

That’s just a small number of the things going on in libraries. If you want to find out what’s going on in your local public library why not visit your local library website and look for the “What’s on?” or “Events” link on it for more details.
…and, if you’ve enjoyed an event at your local library, why not share your experiences with us, by emailing us with details at stories@voicesforthelibrary.org.uk?

Tigers, Poets, and Superheroes

The importance of public libraries to their communities is reflected in the range and variety of events and activities that take place in and around them. With this in mind, here are another few highlights of the activities taking place in libraries around the UK:

Kirklees Libraries’ homebound borrowers were treated to a day out at Huddersfield town hall in a co-operatively organised event. A range of activities and entertainment was laid on, such as storytelling, an exercise session, the Borough Organist, and useful information on the Digital Switch-Over/benefits/pensions was provided too.

One of the Kirklees Libraries’ staff members, Jo Haslam, has recently been awarded joint second prize (out of 12,000 entries!) in the National Poetry Society Competition for her piece ‘Wish’. She will be appearing at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in July. Jo works as a Bibliotherapist and Customer Service Officer at Slaithwaite Library.

Chris Manby visited Gowerton Library on Thursday 14th of April. She spoke to an enthralled audience about her newest romantic comedy ‘Kate’s Wedding’ and the trials and tribulations of being a writer. Swansea Libraries also have a busy schedule of fun free childrens events and activities during the Easter holidays – just like your local library! Theirs will include, amongst others: a Superhero party, a visit from Zoolab’s creepy-crawlies, and screenings of several family films.

Pictures of the new library facility for Southend town centre have been released – the new joint venture between Southend Council, Essex University and South Essex College will provide a fantastic asset to the people of the town. As well as housing the library, it will also house the Focal Point Gallery, a lecture theatre, meeting/teaching rooms, a higher education centre, and a cafe. There will also be a public square outside the building.

Edinburgh Libraries have started a new initiative called ‘Tiger Tales‘ aimed at parents with children aged 4-8. This will give them the opportunity to sit down together and enjoy a story told by the Tiger Tale Tellers, and to socialise with other parents and children in a safe environment. To add some extra excitement, the first session was held within Edinburgh Zoo and also featured a jungle quiz, face-painting and other activities.

That’s just a small number of the things going on in libraries. If you want to find out what’s going on in your local public library why not visit your local library website and look for the “What’s on?” or “Events” link on it for more details.

…and, if you’ve enjoyed an event at your local library, why not share your experiences with us, by emailing us with details at stories@voicesforthelibrary.org.uk

Bunnies, WORDfest and human libraries

Public libraries are as much about the community that use them, as they are about book lending. This community spirit is often highlighted by events, activities and classes run in libraries. There are so many of these fun events happening throughout the country that we thought we would spread the word about them.

So, below are a few of the great events happening in libraries throughout the UK.

Crawley is currently running its own WORDfest (2nd – 9th April). It’s Crawley’s first ever festival dedicated to celebrating words and writing in its many forms. Highlights include a talk by Wilbur Smith, fun days, live short-story writing, book fair, open mic session and a talk on self publishing.

The Scarborough Literature Festival is running from 14th – 17th April and is now in its 5th year. Authors involved in the festival include Sarah Waters, Joanna Trollope, Jodi Picoult. Other events include sessions with Steve Bell (Guardian cartoonist), children’s book illustrator Tony Ross, youth workshops and fringe events in libraries outside Scarborough. Elsewhere in North Yorkshire, Malton Library, is running an Easter promotion for children, including an Easter bunny animal welfare session… and free chocolate.

Robin Reads from Kingsley Amis


Bedfont Library, in Hounslow, recently held a craft fair with stalls run by each of the groups that use the library for weekly classes. Watercolour paintings, knitted items and sewing crafts were amongst the items on sale.

In partnership with NHS Bolton, Bolton Library took part in World Autism Awareness Day by running a human library event with volunteers who are affected by the condition. The event allowed library users to talk to the volunteers about autism and gain a personal insight into how it affects people.

The community of Selston in Nottinghamshire involved youngsters in a project, which was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to create stained glass windows for the library and college.

That’s just a handful of the fun activities that have happened or are happening in libraries in the near future. We’ll be letting you know about more of these events in future, but if you want to find out what’s going on in your local public library why not visit your local library website and look for the “What’s on?” or “Events” link on it for more details.

…and, if you’ve enjoyed an event at your local library, why not share your experiences with us, by emailing us with details at stories@voicesforthelibrary.org.uk

Read and Shout: part 2

Read part 1 here

And so the weekend arrived. What a weekend it was! It all started bizarrely and quite badly. Me, Hannah (from Owl and Mouse) and Caroline (AFDFS) nervously met Jens at Paddington and took him for a pint of real ale, to calm him from the flight. Sadly during said pint someone managed to sneak up and steal his iphone and wallet from the pocket of his coat. What a way to start your stay in London. He was so great about it, but also anxious because he’d lost most of his contacts, access to money, and he was playing a secret show that night up in Tottenham! We took him to the police station, where he joked about how we were the most cheerful promoters he’d ever dealt with – trying to distract him from his sadness by asking him for his top five bands, if he had a Smith’s tattoo what would the lyrics be, that kind of thing! We ended up getting in a taxi to Tottenham, which got hopelessly lost, but eventually got to a warehouse in the middle of nowhere. The gig was put on by some Swedish fans, who happened to live in an art studio. It was like something from another world, when we all went in barefoot to see the space. They’d made little huts for each of them to sleep in and a fairylight decked space for Jens to play. There started one of the best nights of my life. Jens treated 30 of us to an acoustic set, and even took requests (I was lucky enough to get Tram #7 to Heaven.) At one point he put his guitar down mid set to come and dance with us all. It was wonderful to say the least. The only downside was being in the middle of nowhere in North London at 3am, with the knowledge that you have to run an indiepop festival the next day.

Having woken up with a sore head, it was onto the venue to set everything up. There was a lot to sort out, but so many volunteers showed up to help. Their support was overwhelming and I couldn’t have done it without them. We had fellow musicians, members of the community, colleagues – everyone chipped in. I’d hired this guy called Jez from Atlantic Sound to do all the engineering etc and he took the burden of worrying about that away from me. Not only did he set everything up and manage the stage, but I hardly ever saw him away from the mixing desk all day – constantly twiddling buttons and checking the sound was alright. He was the first of my heroes that night. The first band the Sunbathers went on and people started showing up. Throughout the day it just got busier and busier and the atmosphere was great. We had your very own Paul from Scared to Dance Djing between bands, as well as the amazing Librarian’s Wanted (Silja, David and Roo) and the brilliant Matthew from Big Pink Cake. Silja had even made a huge plate of fresh waffles for everyone to share around! People wore our Save Libraries badges, our Read and Shout banner hung proud above the stage, and everyone seemed so supportive of the whole thing.

My only concern was that so many people sat down that we couldn’t squeeze enough people in. At one point I tired to bribe them with sherbet flying saucers to stand up, but this had minimal effect. In the end I had to get up on stage and demand it. Each and every band performed memorable sets. I stood there feeling like the luckiest guy in the world because all these bands had come together to play music in my library, have a good time, support the cause, and they also waved their fees. I can’t thank them enough. I won’t go into which bands I loved the most. I know it sounds corny, but each and every one of them were great and dead special. At one point, just before my band A Fine Day for Sailing went on I remember looking at all those indiepopsters, cardigan clad or not, crammed into our hall and being close to tears that it had actually happened.

By the time Jens played – this time a more upbeat set, full of charm and beauty – I was enjoying every second (perhaps helped by a fair quantity of G&T) and just felt so proud of everyone who came, played, volunteered and helped in any way. I couldn’t believe that we’d managed to pull it off. I spent much of the later part of the evening just wandering around and staring at it all in disbelief. What a truly magical experience. After the show we bundled Jens into a taxi (which would eventually get lost taking him to his hotel and require us to direct him via google maps for 45mins!) I felt awful that I wasn’t able to go on anywhere with him or the others (to How Does it Feel), but I could barely stand. Collapsed on one of the seats in the library I was asked if would I do another one. I could barely move, but my first thought was ‘hell yeah! Next year!’

That’s if we have anything left to save.

I hope what we did with Read and Shout was a start. I hope those 300 people go away and think about what they can do to support their local libraries. Even if just one of them writes to their local MP it will have been worth it. We made some money to put into the Save Libraries campaign, we made a noise, got some press, got people talking about it. It’s not everything, but it’s a start. Please go into your local library and join – we need the numbers. Sign your local petition. Write to your MP. Just…

Read and Shout!

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