Tag Archives: quality of life

Get involved in the Library A to Z

At the recent Library Camp East event one of the Voices For The Library team proposed a session to crowd source an A to Z of words that reflected the positive activities and values of libraries, as well as positive representations in books, songs, films and other media. The aim was to highlight that even though books are a core feature of library services, libraries are so much more than this – whether this “so much more” is as a result of the benefits of reading, or beyond this focus. The intention was also to use the A to Z as a way to promote library services. The group was attended by about 20 people from a range of library backgrounds, which was great, because it meant that the full breadth of library services could be covered and it showed common and uncommon activities between, say for example, public and academic libraries. We covered all of the alphabet (with a bit of artistic licence in places), but there is still scope for more words to be added into the Library A to Z. Please feel free to add any as a comment and we’ll then include them in the blog post.

Here’s a list of what the group at Library Camp East came up with on the day, along with some additional contributions. Thanks to all who got involved.

Questions (c) elycefeliz / Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence)

A
archives
access
answers
Alphabetical Order (Alan Ayckbourn play)
advice
art
astronomy
audio books
author events

 

B
Batgirl (is a librarian)
breakout space
breast feeding (space for mothers with babies)
books
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Giles is a librarian)
borrowing
book club
baby bounce and rhyme
Britannica (encyclopedia)
business information
biographies

C
community
collaboration
childminders
careers
choices
crafts
creation
comics
competitive advantage (for businesses)
coffee (relax with one)
colouring (fun sessions for children)
council services (access to)
carers services
classics
community cohesion
ommunity memory
Council Information
CVs

 

D
Deskset (film)
Elaine Dundy – The Dud Avacado
Day after tomorrow (scene in library)
databases
democracy
discovery
dry (inside, away from foul weather)
dads
diversity
dvds
Dewey
dance
digital literacy

E
entertainment
escape
ebooks
employability
equality
everyone (is welcome)
education
excitement
events
exhibitions
enquiry service
email

 

F
fun
free (to join and free books)
family history
families
films
Facebook (you can access it via our PCs)
fax services
fiction

G
guidance
gallery
Ghostbusters (library scene in the film)
green (eco-friendly book recycling)
graphic novels
Go online
games

H
heritage
history
health
Hermione (always in the library in Harry Potter)
holiday reading
Hollywood librarians film
homework help
hate crime reporting
help
history

I
information
inclusion
internet
inspiration
imagination
information services
information literacy
information commons

J
job searching
journeys (discover new places with a book)

judgement-free

K
knowledge

Kindness

Kinship (finding like-minded people)

key-stage (supporting the curriculum)

L
librarians / library staff
lending
local
local studies
literacy
learning
leisure
languages
literature

M
Margaret Mahy
The mummy (main character is a librarian)
meeting (community)
mums
music
managing directors (build businesses/business support)
mood boosting
make a noise in libraries
mobile libraries
Manic street preachers – “libraries gave us power”
mailing lists
magazines
maps
market research

 

N
networking
noise (discussion/communication/activity)
National Libraries Day
Name of the Rose
newspapers
Neil Gaiman – a great advocate for libraries
non-judgemental
novels
not for profit

O
Octonauts (CBeebies – “To the library!”)
opportunity
outreach
online
open to all
old (and young)

P
partnerships
power
photocopying
printers
paper
photographs

Q
questions
quiet

R
reading
research
resources
relaxing
rhymetime
recommendations
reference books
retirement
reminiscence
romance

 

S
Sshh! (a quiet place to work/study)
silver surfers
students
scanners
space (to think and work)
skills
sharing
safe (place)
summer reading challenge
social media
serendipity
storytime
study
school visits
science
science fiction
spelling
sport
statistics

T
Time travellers wife (works in a library)
trusted
teens
Time machine (original film female character worked in library)
toys
treasure hunts

U
understanding
uplifting
universal
unemployment
unlimited
universal credit (support)
unexpected

V
visually impaired users
values

W
wifi (free)
well-being
wisdom
werewolves (Twilight / teen readers)
warmth

X
xml (web of information; organisation of info online)
x-rated (50 shades of grey etc)
exciting
expression

Y
youth
young adult

Z
‘zines (magazines)
zzzzz (child sleeping after being read bedtime story)

Force of Poetry (c) Artiom Ponkratenko / Flickr (CC BY 2.0 licence)

So, now we have a list and what would be great is if we could get more people involved in doing something creative with this list or a part of it – maybe just a letter, or a single word will inspire you to create something in response. So for example, some of the ideas people have suggested already include:

  • Turn some of this into a visual alphabet that we could share as downloadable posters.
  • Create a library A to Z video.
  • Pull together positive library user stories that cover the full A to Z related to your library, whether that’s public, academic, business, specialist library etc and produce a book of them to be sent to the people in your organisation who aren’t aware of the value of your library service.
  • Create an online photo montage alphabet.
  • Get artists (visual, musical, performance) involved to interpret this Library A to Z in their own unique way.
It would be fantastic if we could encourage libraries and their supporters to take up the challenge, focus on a single letter each and produce something we could pull together in time for National Libraries Day – a day all about celebrating the value of libraries and all the things that make libraries so great and important.
And if you do put something together (which we hope you will) please let us know and share it with us, so we can share it with everyone else too.

Public Libraries Committed to Improve Access for Blind and Partially Sighted People

Public libraries are adopting six steps in a UK-wide effort to improve access for blind and partially sighted people. For the two million blind and partially sighted people in the UK this will be a lifeline to the leisure, learning and information resources offered by public libraries.

Libraries that have adopted the six steps are providing collections of large print and audio books, making sure accessible technology is available, and have a library champion for the reading needs of blind and partially sighted people.

Six Steps to Library Services for Blind and Partially Sighted Peopleis a joint initiative by the Society of Chief Librarians, Scottish Library & Information Council and Share the Vision.

Mark Freeman, Acting Chair of Share the Vision, said: “Public libraries are obliged to provide services to everyone. Many libraries are already doing an excellent job but standards of provision for blind and partially sighted people vary from place to place. The six steps make it clear what libraries can do to improve access.”

These steps are already making a huge difference to library users.

“I am so glad that Inverurie Library organised this event. I had given up trying to read books with my younger son and missed this time with him dearly but I can once again enjoy doing this. I also now receive the local paper in audio format, am a member of the local book club, have a better idea of the titles available and how to order audio books and lastly the confidence to ask for help if I need it.” Heather Watson, library customer, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire.

Already, 176 out of 210 library authorities have pledged.* “We call on every library in the UK to sign up,” said President of SCL, Nicky Parker. “We are determined to break down the barriers that prevent blind and partially sighted people from using the public library like everyone else.”

Scottish Library & Information Council Director, Elaine Fulton, said: “All of Scotland’s public libraries have already pledged their support for this very welcome initiative.”

Six Steps to Library Services for Blind and Partially Sighted People

1. Use Your Reading Choices with blind and partially sighted customers to assess their reading needs and facilitate access to public libraries and other relevant services (http://tinyurl.com/rnib2)

2. Use Reading Sight (www.readingsight.org.uk), the free website for library staff supporting blind and partially sighted people to access reading and reading services

3. Provide local collections of large print and audio books

4. Have a strategy in place for provision of access technology throughout your library service

5. Designate a “champion” for the reading needs of blind and partially sighted people

6. Participate in Make a Noise in Libraries Fortnight (www.rnib.org.uk/manil) run annually by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

* For the full list of library authorities signed up to Six Steps see www.goscl.com

(Press release provided by Society of Chief Librarians)

Mobile Libraries: Past Successes; Future Directions?

Thanks to Richard, a former mobile librarian in the Scottish highlands, who sent us this post highlighting the importance of mobile library services.

 

Coincidences can be serendipitous. The other day, a chance encounter in town found me chatting to Marie; one time head of a primary school on my old mobile itinerary, and now like me retired. We caught up on the intervening years, and recalled the many happy and productive days of our previous association. Later the same day, while visiting my centenarian mother in her care home, I was delighted to see a new resident, Annie; a partially disabled lady for whom I had undertaken regular home visits with books. Now ninety three, her mind remained sharp and clear; a reminder that a fondness for light romance need not dull the brain!

These two meetings brought home to me, not just the personal joys of my life as a mobile librarian in the Scottish highlands, but also a very real sense of the good my colleagues and I were able to achieve in our work. Today, when the speed and uncertainty of change threatens the very existence of mobiles, past achievements may hold pointers to a continuing future. Once, our remit was to supply the widest possible range of library services to rural communities; a situation we recognize to be no longer sustainable as a whole. But, exemplified here in the stories of Annie and Marie, there exist areas within which I believe a mobile library service offers a positive, cost-effective way forward.

Marie was the best kind of primary teacher; an enthusiastic polymath who drew no false distinctions between art and science, inspiring her pupils to learn through the shared joys of the spoken word: in debate, song, drama and reading aloud. She always encouraged me to play a proactive part in school life, and thus I became in addition to my normal library duties a storyteller, a shennachie in the local scots; a role I was able to develop to include all the dozen or so schools on my regular round. Issues soared. Beginning with simple stories for nursery classes and pre-school groups, I expanded my scope to include all ages up to twelve; giving readings of classics old and new, poetry, even some of the more dramatic exerts from Shakespeare. I have a particular abiding memory of holding one class spellbound by a recitation of Kipling’s Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.

Writers like Kipling may be anathema to modernists, but the themes of courage and resourcefulness displayed in tales such as Rikki bear comparison with those seen in, say, The Gruffalo; and can be equally enjoyable, both to read and to hear. The key to that enjoyment is the human voice and its use to convey all the excitement, colour and meaning which a given text may contain. Once you establish the links between the written word and the endlessly vivid world of a child’s imagination then the act of their learning to read becomes a pleasure, and, once achieved, a lifelong joy. Those manning mobile libraries with school clients are uniquely placed to provide such inspiration, having all the necessary resources to hand. Where a suitable bond of trust has been created, teaching staff are only too delighted to accept our assistance.

Mobile library comes to Beckford (Jonathan Billinger)

Mobile library comes to Beckford (Jonathan Billinger)

Trust, and the human voice, is just as important at the other end of life’s spectrum. Annie, recently widowed and with her family far away, lived in relative isolation in an anonymous housing scheme. As the years passed and her health deteriorated visits to the mobile became more and more difficult; a situation mirrored in the experiences of many of our older customers. Whereas a dedicated housebound mobile served the needs of the city of Inverness no such facility existed for the country areas. I began to adjust our timetables accordingly, in order to accommodate home visits. These were well received, and, as word spread, we began to receive requests to visit from folk who had never previously been able to access library services. Once again our issues climbed. More than that, we found these visits to be doubly rewarding; not only were our clients able to enjoy their books, but they also gained from regularly seeing a friendly face and a few minutes of craic – not to mention the odd cuppa. And, for our part, many lasting friendships were forged; together with the occasional sadness as time took its inevitable toll.

Dear gentle Annie passed away only a short time after her admission to the home; despite crippling disabilities she had managed on her own for nearly twenty years beforehand. Did our home visits play any part in helping her stay independent, happy and content; and perhaps less of a burden to the exchequer? Accountants, necessary though they are, cannot quantify such factors, any more than they can supply a monetary value for improved reading performance in schools; but my answer would be a resounding yes, just one factor amongst several, no doubt, but a vital one nevertheless. Marie has no doubts either, yes she saw the mobile primarily as another tool in her workshop; but that is surely a good thing, a good place to be. What seems too often overlooked is just what a powerful tool that can be.

There has always been a tendency, in Britain at least, to view mobile libraries as slightly eccentric, a bit of an anachronism, certainly expendable once the financial chips are down. But, give them the opportunity to show what they can do, how much they can achieve, and a very different picture emerges. I do not doubt that I was fortunate; I had the advantage of an enlightened management, willing to indulge my hunches, allowing me space and time to experiment; nor was I alone, with other colleagues from within our fleet of twelve also happy to respond to changing circumstances. But the bottom line rests with the individual; you have got to want to do it, to be prepared to move the boundaries and to make the time.

That time has passed for me, but I am happy to report that, despite some inevitable cut-backs, mobile usage here remains healthy. Suzi, my successor, continues to make improvements and adaptations of her own. New faces at Marie’s old school make her as welcome as ever, and utilize her skills to the full. The numbers of older and disadvantaged folk following in Annie’s footsteps will carry on growing. Mobiles are not only uniquely valued; more to the point they are needed. But, if you are going to make that point, and make it stick, you are going to have to demonstrate its inherent value.

And there is only one way to do that; get out on the road and prove it. Get the results in loans; printed, pictorial, digital; get the backing of public and professionals alike; use the media, local papers love positive stories; don’t wait to be asked, volunteer where you see a need you can fill; above all, be prepared to give of yourself. Mobiles can have a real future; and ensuring that future is a task that can be immensely rewarding – to all concerned.

What is a library?

VftL are delighted to present a guest post by C. Horne.

What is a library?  Do you see a municipal red brick building, slightly tatty, maybe a bit unloved, possibly could do with a bit of attention?  When you walk in is the inside rimmed round with shelves all of which are crammed full of battered plastic covered books?  A few computers on some slightly dingy desks in the reference area, looking slightly out of place.  Behind the counter, a member of staff is dealing with a query about an overdue book.

All this is superficial – you aren’t seeing the real library.  Look deeper.

Over in the children’s library are some pushchairs crammed against the wall, their occupants balancing on their parents’ laps – slightly precariously in some cases – ready for the library’s ‘Bounce and Rhyme’ session.  The library assistant is perched in front of them, leading a group sing along to ‘Wind the Bobbin up’.  She has probably done this every week for months, but loves watching the look on the babies faces.  Recently they have been incorporating baby sign language with the bounce and rhyme which has proved to be very successful.

In the reference section a middle aged gentleman is seated at a computer.  He has headphones on and the fingers on his left hand trace over an embossed piece of paper.  The keyboard that his right hand is typing on has brightly coloured plastic keys and he hunts and pecks for the right letters.  It takes a little while, and he often pauses in between periods of typing.  Getting closer a faint voice is audible from the headphones.  It isn’t an audiobook that he is listening to with such concentration, but a screenreader which is enabling him to use the computer.  Under the desk his guide dog shifts position slightly.

A poster on the wall of the library advertises the Young Adult Reading Group which meets on the first Monday of the month.  This month’s book is a title about the different influences on a group of fourteen year old’s lives and how they deal with them – school, family, gangs, friends, drugs, bullies, church..  The author of the book has been invited to come to the library and discuss her book and the poster now bears a large red banner headline – FULL!  The library is planning to start a second YA group.  When the group meets, there will be an assortment of teenagers of all shapes and sizes eager to discuss their interpretation of the hero – or maybe the antihero – of the book, and his influence on the other characters, with the author, to see what she had in mind when she created him.

Another poster with a large image of a book, advertises a reading group with a different theme.  This reading group reads texts with a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender theme and meets every fourth Friday of the month.  It is a very popular group and they have a list of titles on their reading list that they plan to read over the next year.  The library is introducing two more books groups from next month due to popular demand – a biography group (which has already had special requests not to read any that are ghost written or by people under thirty – which may limit the market) and a science fiction group.

Of course the library also has the standard book group – which is – as they oddly tend to be – female dominated, reading books that vary from Barbara Kingsolver to Lionel Shriver, Herman Melville to Haruki Murakami.  They sit in a circle, discussing their latest read, what they thought of it, who their favourite characters were, whether the ending was good, bad or indifferent, too abrupt or too drawn out.  Everyone has their own opinion and they aren’t afraid to voice them.  Every year the members of this library’s book group will read a title from the Orange Prize List.  They will discuss their title with other library book groups who have done the same and vote on who should win the Orange Prize.  Sadly their votes have no power over the Orange Prize judges but occasionally – very occasionally – they are right.

The faint murmur coming from the other end of the library shows that it is storytime.  The bounce and rhyme session has ended but the children have settled in to hear the story.  More children join them as it is the school holidays and there is nothing better to do.  It is dry in the library and raining outside, despite the fact that it is meant to be summer.

On the walls of the children’s library are clowns, trapeze artists, elephants, lions –  all types of characters advertising the Circus Stars summer reading challenge.  Children only need to read six or more books and get rewards and incentives if they do so.  Drawings by children and comments about the challenge cover the walls.

In the corner of the children’s library is an area designated ‘Homework’.  This is where the Homework Group meets one evening a week.  As it is the summer holidays, the area is deserted, the PC is unused and the books are neatly displayed on the shelves.  It won’t look like this nearer the end of the holiday when the children start panicking and want assistance to get that essay done for tomorrow…

A lone PC has a banner headline stating that it is only for the use of people looking for community information or the library catalogue.  An elderly woman wanders over to it and sits down, looking rather unsure.  The library assistant nearby walks over and asks if she needs help.  Five minutes later the woman leaves with a page of evening classes for internet use for beginners – helping silver surfers to get online.  A student sits down almost immediately and starts looking for a reference book for their coursework.

Back by the door of the library are more posters advertising community events, dances, homework groups, author visits, book groups…

This is your library

All human life is here.

why i love libraries … in 153 words or less – poem by Richard Pierce

why i love libraries … in 153 words or less
(based on my original poem why I love poetry … in 153 words or less)

because words bound and wrapped
on pages of many colours
sing new voices

because one borrowed book
can be better than thousands
of bought ones

because reading beats hearing
when the words make
their own meaning inside me

because small words can change big things

because the wind and the rain
and love and hate and fear
and tragedy and joy

because the world outside
is so huge and round

because inside each story
there is true greatness
and great truth

because words are the warmth of life

because these sanctuaries
are gateways to the gods
our one chance at wisdom

because faith is a promise
regardless of belief

because each book is
a life-time on its own
a summary of all we can

Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce was born in Doncaster in 1960, and lived in Germany for 11 years to 1974. Educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge, he is administrator and trustee for three grant-making charities. His debut novel Dead Men will be published by a major UK publisher in 2012. He is married, has four children, a cat, a Triumph Spitfire, a collection of epees, and thousands of books he’s still trying to find space for (in addition to all the books he borrows from Stradbroke Library). His web site is www.tettig.com, and can be found on twitter as @tettig. Richard’s story for VftL can be found here

‘A library is where you can find out how to be you’ – Catherine’s story

Back in the day my mum used to take the three of us to the library.

It was before the days of timetabled children and she would never take us anywhere, except the library.

Ooh just thinking about those trips now give me chills, my very own ticket and I could take SIX books at a time out – for a book hungry little girl it was the ultimate treat.

We would walk there, often in memory in the depths of winter with the wind whistling and my sister moaning and me, quietly fizzing knowing what was to come. The building itself was beautiful, which libraries so often are, a Victorian public building obviously dedicated to the Book and All It Shall Tell Us.

Anyway this start led me through my life to which I have always looked to books to help me:

Desperate teenage goth who No One understands?

Check – Sylvia Plath and Bram Stoker and others sort out my neediness

Student needing a job ?

Check – got a job in the Uni Library while taking an English Degree which sorted out both body and soul.

Kids?

Yeah baby, got two little girls now and one of the most exciting things we do is go to the library

My six month old doesn’t get it yet but she will and my four year old LOVES it.

A library is where you can find out how to be you, it can provide solace if your heart needs it, teach you what good writing looks and feels like and most importantly lets you try new things with no commitment.

Music lovers have the radio – I adore 6 music but there is nothing like that for book heads –well except the library, I have had short flings with all sorts of writers but i have also started some long terms love affairs there, Poppy Brite, Neil Gaiman , Ian Rankin and Fred Vargas- all amazing writers I have discovered, at least in part via the library.

To sum up , I will be the best mum I can to my girls but as they grow and reach towards the sun I can only do so much, the local library is somewhere I can take them to try on identies via fiction and know, like Narnia if you open the door to a library you have the passport to so many new worlds.

Rebecca Front – ‘libraries are a great institution which deserve to be cherished’

VftL are delighted to have a guest blog from Rebecca Front, BAFTA award winning star of The Thick of It. Rebecca explains why libraries are so vital for their communities (adapted from a piece Rebecca Frontoriginally published in The Guardian on 19th July 2006).

I find it hard to understand how anyone can fail to see that libraries are a great institution which deserves to be cherished. If someone said to you, “I know this place where you can go and hang around for as long as you like, browsing books, newspapers and magazines, using the internet, keeping out of the rain. And if you see a book you fancy, you can take it home – free. Take a few, why don’t you, and some CDs and DVDs while you’re at it. And then, when you’ve finished reading, and you’re fed up with them sitting around cluttering your shelves and gathering dust … you can take them back and swap them for something else”… you’d think that was pretty amazing, wouldn’t you?

And yet, when you ask people how often they visit a library – if indeed they belong to one – you discover that they regard it in much the same way as having a composting bin in the garden. It’s a great idea, you can’t fault it and, sooner or later, we might get round to trying it. So it’s no surprise that councils across the country are cutting back their funding, presumably working on the assumption that, famed as they are for their quietness, library users won’t make too much noise about it.

Well that part is wrong. Wherever there is a library under threat, there are dedicated groups of people trying to save it. But it hasn’t been enough to stop the rot. It seems to me that it’s the well-off middle classes who are letting the side down here. When you go into a local library, you find its user-demographic – as I believe our marketing friends would call it – is unusually broad. There are subscribers of every age, race and social group. But the smallest group – and I’m basing this on extensive and thorough research data compiled by me in my area, so don’t pay too much heed to it – seems to be the comfortably-off.

They’ll come in and borrow books for the kids, but for themselves, it seems, the lure of a pristine cover fresh from the shelves at Waterstone’s is too much. And these are the very people who ought to be the service’s most vocal champions. Well, let me see if I can tempt you back in.

First, put aside your guilt about that book you failed to return in 1975, and your anxiety that the fine, should you be caught, would be so great that your home would have to be repossessed to pay it. Libraries are generally pretty forgiving on lost books, though if they did start calling in those overdue fines, it could be the answer to the funding problem.

Second, though new books are pristine, and it’s good to feel confident that when you turn the page you won’t find it partially stuck down by somebody else’s nasal excretions, a little bit of dirt does you good, and I never heard of anyone dying from a library-related illness yet, did you?

Third, borrowing books gives you the opportunity to read and return all those things that you don’t want to have on display in your home. My son, when he was seven, developed a taste for hideously illustrated books about disease. A particular favourite was Warts and Verrucas. The cover for that, I could just about tolerate but when he brought home the lavishly photographed Conjunctivitis, I couldn’t wait for the return date, and was delighted when its photos of a suppurating cornea were taken out of the house for good.

A survey published a few years ago showed, depressingly, that the majority of Britons believed in putting their own interests ahead of the community’s. It doesn’t surprise me that people feel that way, just that they think such a credo is so socially acceptable they’ll admit to it in a survey. And it doesn’t bode well for The Big Society. But there are activities that serve both the individual and the community, and I can’t think of a better one than joining and using a library.

We all know that reading is the bedrock of knowledge and understanding. Playing fast and loose with free books for all seems to me to be akin to mucking about with the state education system. But, as with private education, the more people are willing to part with their money for something the state ought to provide to a high quality, the further the quality of state provision slumps. The only way to protect libraries is to use them as an adjunct to the book-buying habit that so many of us have acquired. And what a fabulously well-read nation we will be.

What My Library Means To Me … Jo’s story

Some of the best friends I’ve ever made have lived in books.

As a child, my whole week was spent looking forward to library day.  My mother would leave me in the library whilst she went shopping and I would spend at least an hour, roaming from shelf to shelf, deciding who would be coming home with me for the next seven days.

It was a huge decision.

The friends I brought home with me would influence my thoughts and actions for the entire week.  Hidden on the shelves of my local library were adventures in lands I would never visit, with people who would stay with me for the rest of my life.  It was thanks to these friends that I peered curiously in the back of my parents’ wardrobe, that I considered cutting off my hair to add to my pocket money and why I checked for wings on the legs of any passing rocking chair.

The friends that I made in my local library taught me right from wrong.  They were the people I turned to for guidance and comfort, as I learned more about life.  And it was because of these friends I learned to ask about the what ifs, because they took my young imagination and kept it safe within the pages of a book.

It was also thanks to these friends that I learned how to spell and read and write.

It’s a long time since I asked Aslan for advice.  But I know he sits on the shelves of my local library, patiently waiting for a new generation of children to find him.  If the government has its way, he may never be found.  My heart aches for those children.  To grow up without such good friends, to never search for Mr Toad on the riverbank or deliberately put your foot in a rabbit hole, is unthinkable.

A library ticket is more than just an exchange for a book.  It’s a ticket to adventure, to friendships and stories you will treasure forever and it offers a path into adulthood which will shape your character like nothing else ever could.

And every child has a right to that.

http://joannacannon.wordpress.com/

Jane’s story

The Library Ticket

This orange passport
Like an envelope, well-addressed
Slotted into her life
Pages fell open

The central spine
Was fraying, tearing
Like an offspring pulling away
Adolescence

A ticket to her own mind
Its secrets locked like a story
Until escape
At the final chapter

The loss of any library is awful.  I don’t know what to say at the proposed
government closure of 250 libraries.  It would be devastating.

I went to a poetry writing workshop many years ago and the poem above in
remembrance of my first library which I joined 44 years ago as an 11 year old.
Books have always been my escape.  Today, libraries offer so much more and that
is fantastic for all users.

Lucy’s story

My childhood memories are filled with visits to the library. Some days in the summer holidays I would pick up a batch of books one day, return them the next day and pick up another bundle. I loved reading, it helped to open my mind up to a new world beyond my immediate environment.
I was lucky: we had bookshelves at home, too, but in my journalistic career have since met many children and adults who have said they in fact picked up their love of reading from local libraries. They are treasure chests that we need to preserve for children, for those without the means to own many books at home, and those who use them as a place to learn how to use computers, or find jobs on the internet, or for study, or as a community centre, or learning to read through the libraries’ Summer Reading Challenge scheme, or the myriad other purposes libraries for which libraries are used. Lets ensure libraries are there for future generations, just as they were for us.”

Lucy Tobin, author and journalist