Try Reading Blog

"A cuddle or a picnic or a warm drink in book form": Elizabeth Gibson reviews The Space Between Us

Posted Tuesday 21 May 2019 by Writing Squad

Space BetweenThe Space Between for me is proof that word-of-mouth recommendation can really work, and gives me hope that beautiful, unusual books from indie publishers can find a deserved audience. A year ago, I wasn’t seeing this book in shops. However, I took part in regular Twitter book chats, covering issues like mental health and queer representation, and every now and again someone would mention The Space Between as a hidden gem they really, really loved. I looked it up and the blurb spoke to me, so I took a punt and ordered it. It fast became one of my favourite books.

The is a cuddle or a picnic or a warm drink in book form. It is cosy and gentle and unpretentious. It is written in verse, which gives breathing space for the heart of the story and the emotions of the main character, Beth, to lead the way, without being crowded by endless description or melodrama. We follow just three characters: Beth, her mysterious new friend, Alice, and Alice’s dog, Mouse. The entire story takes place in Beth’s house and garden, and within the space of a year. There is a purity to it, without being cheesy.

The burgeoning love between the characters feels organic and real, while maintaining a lovely otherworldly quality, like a fairy-tale. Difficult issues are confronted without hesitation, but also without the novel feeling patronising, or as if it were attempting to tick boxes – everything in there feels like it should be there. There are also refreshingly frank depictions of different body types, and of female sexual desire and pleasure. I am now starting to see The Space Between pop up in bookshops, and I approve, but do check out libraries, too, and give this gorgeous book a go. It is different from anything else I’ve read.

Elizabeth GibsonReviewer Biography

Elizabeth Gibson is a Manchester-based writer and spoken-word performer. She has won a Northern Writer's Aware and been shortlisted for the Poetry Business' New Poetry Prize. Her writing touches on city life, nature, queerness, and physical and mental health. She tweets as @Grizonne and blogs at http://elizabethgibsonwriter.blogspot.co.uk. She will be appearing at Bad Language in Manchester on 29 May.

Vacancy: Freelance evaluator for New Words project

Posted Wednesday 24 April 2019 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News

New Words logoApplications close: Friday 10 May

Type: One-time project over 18 months

Payment: £3150 to include travel. This is to create an evaluation framework, design research tools, check mid-project, telephone interview working group members and artist and production of independent report.

Contact: Ian Anstice timetoread@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

What is Time To Read?

Time To Read (TTR) is a unique partnership of 22 Library Authorities in North West England, working together to promote reading since 2002. The region covers Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire, all of Greater Manchester and Greater Merseyside.

New Words

The project aims to bring together the region’s publishers and public libraries. To make this happen, TTR have gained Arts Council England funding for a package of meetings, events and book promotions. This includes the selection of ten books for reading groups, a suggested booklist and artist-produced library promotion as well as author events and promotional material. The project will last for eighteen months. The publishers included are Carcanet, Comma Press, Knives Forks and Spons, Saraband and Dead Ink.

What We Are Looking For

We are looking for a responsible professional evaluator to provide advice on how to evaluate the project, to interview and produce a final report. Responsibilities will include working closely with Time To Read and other members of the working group, which comprises of publishers and librarians, to ensure that all parts of the project are properly evaluated. This includes events, the work of the artist and the development of the working group members and libraries involved.

To succeed in this role, you should have excellent time management and communication skills.

Work is expected start in June.

Key points looked for

  • Professional qualifications

  • Experience in evaluations

  • Solid organizational skills, including multitasking and time-management

  • Strong client-facing and teamwork skills

  • Ability to work for relatively small amounts of time over a period of 18 months while remaining focused.

  • It would be desirable, although not essential, to have some experience of public libraries and/or publishing.

    Payment

    Terms will be agreed between the artist and Time To Read.

    Selection Process

    All EoI will be considered by a panel made up of members from Time To Read.

    Application

    Please complete the expression of interest form and send to Ian Anstice timetoread@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk by the end of Friday 10 May

    More information

    Expression of Interest Form

Vacancy: Co-ordinator for New Words project

Posted Tuesday 23 April 2019 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News

New Words Projects Co-ordinator for Time To Read

New Words logoApplications close: Friday 10 May

Type: One-time project over 18 months

Payment: £2,000 to include travel. This is for attending four, possibly five, meetings (assumed to be Manchester based) plus showcase event and learning meeting, all to come to a maximum of 7 half days at £100 each, plus co-ordination work during the life of the project, expected to be equivalent to around five days in total.

Contact: Ian Anstice timetoread@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

What is Time To Read?

Time To Read (TTR) is a unique partnership of 22 Library Authorities in North West England, working together to promote reading since 2002. The region covers Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire, all of Greater Manchester and Greater Merseyside.

New Words

The project aims to bring together the region’s publishers and public libraries. To make this happen, TTR have gained Arts Council England funding for a package of meetings, events and book promotions. This includes the selection of ten books for reading groups, a suggested booklist and artist-produced library promotion as well as author events and promotional material. The project will last for eighteen months. The publishers included are Carcanet, Comma Press, Knives Forks and Spons, Saraband and Dead Ink.

What We Are Looking For

We are looking for a responsible Project Coordinator to administer meetings and events during the project. Responsibilities will include working closely with the working group, which comprises of publishers and librarians, to ensure that all parts of the project take place within time, within budget and meet high quality standards. This includes meetings, events and the sourcing of reading group boxes. The working group may also agree other needs as the project evolves.

You will perform tasks such as arranging meeting and event dates and venues plus chairing or taking minutes as required.

To succeed in this role, you should have excellent time management and communication skills, as you’ll collaborate with the working group and libraries to ensure the events and reading groups are arranged in time.

Meetings are expected to be: 2019: Tuesday 28 May AM, August, October. 2020: April plus showcase August, learning event September.

Key points looked for

Experience of chairing meetings and ensuring appropriate minutes and action points are taken.

Experience in project management

Solid organizational skills, including multitasking and time-management

Strong client-facing and teamwork skills

Ability to work for relatively small amounts of time over a period of 18 months while remaining focused.

It would be desirable, although not essential, to have some experience of public libraries and/or publishing.

Payment

Terms will be agreed between the artist and Time To Read.

Selection Process

All EoI will be considered by a panel made up of members from Time To Read.

Application

Please complete the expression of interest form and send to Ian Anstice timetoread@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk by the end of Friday 10 May


Applications close: Friday 10 May

  • Type: One-time project over 18 months

  • Payment: £2,000 to include travel. This is for attending four, possibly five, meetings (assumed to be Manchester based) plus showcase event and learning meeting, all to come to a maximum of 7 half days at £100 each, plus co-ordination work during the life of the project, expected to be equivalent to around five days in total.

  • Contact: Ian Anstice timetoread@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

    What is Time To Read?

    Time To Read (TTR) is a unique partnership of 22 Library Authorities in North West England, working together to promote reading since 2002. The region covers Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire, all of Greater Manchester and Greater Merseyside.

    New Words

    The project aims to bring together the region’s publishers and public libraries. To make this happen, TTR have gained Arts Council England funding for a package of meetings, events and book promotions. This includes the selection of ten books for reading groups, a suggested booklist and artist-produced library promotion as well as author events and promotional material. The project will last for eighteen months. The publishers included are Carcanet, Comma Press, Knives Forks and Spons, Saraband and Dead Ink.

    What We Are Looking For

    We are looking for a responsible Project Coordinator to administer meetings and events during the project. Responsibilities will include working closely with the working group, which comprises of publishers and librarians, to ensure that all parts of the project take place within time, within budget and meet high quality standards. This includes meetings, events and the sourcing of reading group boxes. The working group may also agree other needs as the project evolves.

    You will perform tasks such as arranging meeting and event dates and venues plus chairing or taking minutes as required.

    To succeed in this role, you should have excellent time management and communication skills, as you’ll collaborate with the working group and libraries to ensure the events and reading groups are arranged in time.

    Meetings are expected to be: 2019: Tuesday 28 May AM, August, October. 2020: April plus showcase August, learning event September.

    Key points looked for

  • Experience of chairing meetings and ensuring appropriate minutes and action points are taken.

  • Experience in project management

  • Solid organizational skills, including multitasking and time-management

  • Strong client-facing and teamwork skills

  • Ability to work for relatively small amounts of time over a period of 18 months while remaining focused.

  • It would be desirable, although not essential, to have some experience of public libraries and/or publishing.

    Payment

    Terms will be agreed between the artist and Time To Read.

    Selection Process

    All EoI will be considered by a panel made up of members from Time To Read.

    Application

    Please complete the expression of interest form and send to Ian Anstice timetoread@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk by the end of Friday 10 May

    Expression of interest form is available here

    For more details on the project, see here.

New Words

Posted Monday 15 April 2019 by Ian Anstice in Funding Opportunities, Latest Libraries News

New Words logo“New Words” is an 18 month project to promote North West publishers and North West libraries to each-other and to the public. Partners in the project are the 22 Time To Read partner library services and the North West ACE-funded publishers (Carcanet, Comma Press, Dead Ink, Knives Forks and Spoons, Saraband).

The following is a technical overview of the project but look out in the future for events and promotions flowing from it ...

Purpose

  • Improve links between North West publishers and libraries

  • Raise public and library staff awareness of publishers via book collections, events and displays

  • Art element will explore explore new ways of promoting books.

How

  • 22 events plus showcase event and learning event

  • Displays

  • Reading group resources

Working group members

Comma PressWorking group will include include co-ordinator, five representatives from publishers (one per publisher), five representatives from library services and others as appropriate. Expected to meet five times, with four meetings are scheduled, with the fifth being as and when needed.

Publishers

Publishers will provide suggestions of books for collection/displays and to provide suggestions from authors and publishers for 22 events (one per library service). Events from the publisher themselves may include how to get published. They will work with librarians on how best to put on author events generally.

Librarians

Librarians will attend five meetings with publishers. Some of the meetings will be in Manchester but other venues will be considered. Librarians will choose which titles to use in reading group sets and to decide how to best serve those non-set using library services. They will choose authors/publishers, from a selection provided by publishers, for events. Assist in arranging events, including showcase event, and fixing ticket price levels. 

Librarians will work with artist on what artwork is required for the project, share an explanation of their library stock purchasing process with publishers , discuss how best to ensure the work of regional publishers is purchased for North West libraries and discuss with publishers how to place other events in libraries outside of the scope of the New Words project. They will also consider ways of increasing diversity in stock buying to include more non-bestsellers and local stock.

Knives Forks and Spoons logoContractors

All appointments will be made in a fair and open process of advertising and selection by members of Time To Read. It may be that the posts are combined e.g. the artist and co-ordinator may be the same person.

Artist

An emerging artist will be chosen. The nature of the artist will be decided by the librarian/publisher group at the start of the project. The artist will need to be familiar with public libraries and/or will visit libraries to be aware of limitations (e.g. lack of display space) and possibilities. He or she will discuss with working group as to best options and may develop easily produced point of sale items, perhaps including book marks, leaflet, feedback postcards, header for book display, empty belly posters for space to write feedback comments or book reviews from librarians or customers etc.

He or she may develop eyecatching displays to promote the chosen books and publishers. Artists may wish to use currently under-utilised space in buildings for this e.g. floors, ceilings, stairs. Displays need to be easily moveable in the case of physical displays or duplicatable in the case of vinyls etc. Art is specifically not to include a single physical art piece as it would be difficult to sufficiently tour it.

Evaluator

SarabandAn independent evaluator will be engaged at the start, middle and end of the project to ensure that evaluation is at the heart of the programme and the most lessons are learnt from it.

Evaluation suggested (tentative): For staff: To be measured by pre- and post-project survey, independent interviews with staff and publishers.  Measure awareness of publishers/libraries with eachother at start and end of project. Online survey of participants at start and end inc. likelihood to work together again. Half day with a publisher and librarian at start of project to decide aims. For the public: To be measured by survey of those who have seen displays, art and reading group collections. Measure number of titles, and issues, in libraries at start and end of project. This includes counting the number of books by the publishers in the target libraries at the start and end of the project e.g. count issues of books by publishers and measure the amount of poetry. - Sample readers (bookmark/postcard), event attenders (online/paper form).             

Carcanet logoCo-ordinator

To arrange and attend meetings, travel, prep and co-ordination of various strands. Familiarisation of project, consultation, overseeing of various stages.

Time To Read

Will produce a toolkit on how best to promote local/independently published works in libraries including events and displays. Provide web space for promoted works, pending permission from those which are chosen, and it is expected also to include audio and video clips. Time To Read will promote to book bloggers and work with working group/artist to on publicity to include Facebook and press release.

Timescale

Dead Ink Logo2019

  • May or earlier: Selection and appointment of librarians and publishers for working group.

  • May: appointment of co-ordinator

  • 30 May: First meeting

  • June: appointment of artist and evaluator. Publishers choose titles to submit to librarians for displays/reading group boxes and to develop event options

  • July: Librarians choose titles.

  • August: Second meeting. Artist to visit libraries, look at books and work on brief.

  • August/September: Books and materials bought for reading groups.

  • October: Third meeting

  • November/December: events booked, Distribution of reading group sets.

    2020

  • January to June: Events. 22 events with c. 20 attending each. Events will be ticketed/charged for with income being paid to Time To Read as part of funding.

  • April: fourth meeting

  • August: Showcasing event with c.50 attending. Event can be ticketed/charged for (C.£5). The showcase event will be for the authors and publishers to meet together with the public and librarians to gain a multi-faceted view of what's available.

    • Show what has been done in libraries and publishers to date e.g. displays, events.

    • Authors and panel discussing what has been learnt.

    • Opportunity, and encouragement, to mix at lunch.

    • Invite all relevant publishers and library services inc. Libraries Connected, Taskforce.

  • September: Half day session to share learning. Budget: £500 for publishers, £100 for artist,

Reading group sets

  • Funds for 22 reading group sets to include skips.   

    Vacancies

    There are currently two vacancies associated with this project:

    Co-ordinator

    Evaluator

               


North West Libraries

Librarians in the North West have pioneered partnership working to encourage new readers into libraries. Time To Read is a partnership of librarians engaged in reader development activity in public library authorities in the North West Region. 22 public library authorities in the region currently support Time To Read.

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