Posts in Latest Libraries News

Joseph Coehlo's Library Marathon

Posted Friday 30 August 2019 by Guest blog writer in Latest Libraries News

Poet and author Joseph Coelho called in to Blackburn Central Library this week, as part of his national Library Marathon. On Saturday 24 August he joined the library, chatted to staff, and donated two books. Plus he posed for a photograph with the library’s other special guest Marshall the puppy, part of the Brickburn Paw Patrol trail around the town centre!

As part of his Library Marathon Joseph is physically visiting a library in each authority to join and receive his library card. He’s plotting his progress on a giant library marathon map on his website, tweeting and blogging his journey around the UK.

Joseph has long been a passionate and vociferous supporter of libraries in the UK. His debut picture book, Luna Loves Library Day, illustrated by Fiona Lumbers and published by Andersen Press, celebrates his love for libraries and his own childhood spent in libraries. 

The Library Marathon is undertaken with the support of CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals) and Libraries Connected. 

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 ...


  • 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.


  • 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 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 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.


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.


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.


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.


  • 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.   


    There are currently two vacancies associated with this project:




CWA Brings Writers, Venues and Book Groups Together in National Crime Reading Month in May

Posted Wednesday 3 April 2019 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News

Crime Reading Month

May will be a time for murder and mayhem as National Crime Reading Month (NCRM) makes a welcome return – and the organisers are urging writers and venues to become involved.

NCRM, which has run for a number of years, is a unique literary festival that is held throughout the UK in May to celebrate the crime genre, both fiction and non-fiction.

The festival, which is organised by the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) and the Crime Readers’ Association (CRA), sees authors staging events including talks, recitals and ‘in conversation’ evenings in venues ranging from libraries to pubs, theatres  to town halls.

CWA Chair Martin Edwards said: “National Crime Reading Month is an exciting event, which is designed to bring together writers and readers in order to promote the genre as a whole and individual crime writers specifically.”

Members of the public interested in crime fiction and non-fiction are encouraged to visit the National Crime Reading Month website to see what events are on in their area.

Libraries, booksellers, book groups and festivals wishing to organise an event and seeking crime writers to participate should contact

The CWA undertakes to add all events of which they’re informed and in which their members are participating to the website.

The Crime Writers’ Association was founded in 1953 by prolific author John Creasey and continues to grow. Dynamic and innovative, it enjoys a prestigious reputation – as well as organising the renowned Dagger awards and co-ordinating National Crime Writing Month, the CWA also runs a sister organisation, the Crime Readers’ Association. The Crime Readers’ Association offers a unique perspective on the largest community of crime writers in the world and provides informative newsletters and ezines to over 10,000 members.

The CWA provides practical support to libraries, booksellers and festivals not only in May but also throughout the year with the help of its Library and Booksellers’ Champions and Festival Liaison Officers. For more details, see or email

Inaugural Speed Dating library event is Valentine’s hit for LiveWire in Warrington

Posted Wednesday 20 February 2019 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News

ValentinesLove was in the air at Orford Jubilee Neighbourhood Hub in Warrington on Wednesday 13th February, when LiveWire held its first Library Speed Dating event - which received fantastic feedback from those who attended.

Organised by LiveWire’s Community Librarian Team, the free event was one of the UK’s first ever speed dating events held in a public library space.

It was attended by around 30 people who enjoyed coffee and cake and the chance to meet and chat with new people, in the welcoming and familiar setting of a library.

Wendy Molyneux, LiveWire Strategic Libraries Manager, came up with the idea for a speed dating event. Such was the unusual nature of the event, Wendy was even invited on to BBC Radio Manchester to talk about the idea.

Following the event, Wendy said: “There was a fantastic atmosphere in the library during the event, and everyone looked like they were having a great time.  Overwhelmingly people told us they enjoyed it and said it was a good way to meet new people, and that they hope we organise similar events in the future.

ValentinesQuite a few people made comments about how they liked the idea it was in a library rather than a bar or club because they felt safe, and it was nice to meet people face to face rather than virtually.

It was also a great way to engage with the community and help combat potential social isolation – all important functions of libraries.”

The speed dating event has been praised by Time to Read, the partnership of public library authorities in the North West that collaborate on reader development initiatives.

Ian Anstice, Time to Read co-ordinator, said: “This is fantastic to see. The LiveWire Team has gone way beyond in order to come up with a successful event that looks like it will start a bit of a trend. It took some bravery to put on something like this and it is great to see it has paid off. Linking it so closely to Valentine’s Day was inspired as well. We know people love books and all the other services that libraries provide but it’s great to see love itself as a possibility now.”

LiveWire hopes to hold more speed dating events in the future.
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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