Posts in Latest Libraries News

WowFest 2018

Posted Monday 19 March 2018 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News

Wowfest 2018WoWfest 2018 – CROSSING BORDERS responds to recent national and international political, social and cultural developments around issues of Brexit/The EU, migration, race, inclusion/exclusion, diversity, and nationalism. While Trump talks of building walls, and borders are back on the international agenda, WoWFEST 2018 - Crossing Borders will explore messages of togetherness, hope and inclusivity by building stories and experiences around the thoughts, ideas and hopes of our communities for the society and identity they wish to build for themselves and each other in the wake of Brexit.

working class writersWith the impact of Brexit hotly contested and unbridled Trumpery across the Atlantic, WoWFest 2018 – CROSSING BORDERS will explore literature, art, ideas, and practice that has transgressed and challenged accepted ways of thinking. From migrant literature to refugee stories, prisoner stories and translated works, we’ll be discussing race, gender, sexuality, Europe, politics, activism, satire, collaboration, grime music, and technology.

Shami CharkrabartiIn venues across the city WoWfest 2018 – CROSSING BORDERS will break down barriers - technological, geographic and those that frame our identity and ways of living.  Local national and international writers, artists and commentators will debate and discuss ideas of nationalism and identity and their impact on society, culture and artistic creation.  They’ll consider whether the gates protecting the most elite communities need to be torn down in the name of Social Justice and the Grenfell survivors. Subverting the theme, we’ll be exploring borders that need to be fortified #metoo. With guests including Lily Allen, Lowkey (and many more to be announced), WoWfest 2018 – CROSSING BORDERS will defy expectations, entertain and challenge, and invite you to get involved.
WoWfest 2018 is dedicated to Linda Meagor who crossed many borders and was an asset to many arts organisations and communities.

The Power of Words: St Helens Libraries and Holocaust Memorial Day

Posted Tuesday 6 February 2018 by Guest blog writer in Latest Libraries News

Most library services have an exhibition or a talk or two to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day but St Helens went several steps further this year. In this piece, Amanda Brown takes us through their impressive events ...

"Each January, St Helens Library Service commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day. This year’s theme ‘The Power of Words’ prompted us to create displays featuring related book stock, and also influenced a range of activities which were delivered across our libraries.

David Scott

David Scott HMDTo launch the Holocaust commemorations, Manchester poet David Scott, also known as ‘Argh Kid’, visited Parr Library to deliver poetry workshops to both primary and secondary pupils. David led two workshops that involved a re-understanding of what poetry is, by showing pupils different examples of poetry in a modern day landscape. This was then followed by the analysis of Holocaust poems, discussing imagery, language sound and rhythm.

Class visits

The theme ‘The Power of Words’ inspired a class visit offer to local schools, based on the powerful memoir ‘Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank. Over 350 Year 6 pupils visited their local library to learn about the Nazi attempt to annihilate all of Europe’s Jews using propaganda and persecution. The first part of the session focused on how it felt to be a Jewish child and be denied basic human rights such as riding a bicycle, owning a pet or swimming in a public swimming pool. The children considered their own lives today and the activities they like to enjoy, and how they would feel if they were told they were not allowed to take part in them.

HMD class visitThe second part of the visit focused on the life of Anne Frank. Library staff talked about Anne’s life after she went into hiding with her family, read out an excerpt of the book ‘Diary of a young girl’ and the children were encouraged to read aloud a selection of powerful and inspiring quotes written by Anne Frank herself.

Library staff ended the visit by explaining the importance of Holocaust Memorial Day, to remember the millions of people who had been murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The clear message learned from the visit was to end hatred and learn lessons from the past when people were treated badly, to prevent it from happening again. The visit concluded with the lighting of a candle and a minute’s silent reflection.

Small Cinema

HMD Woman in GoldSt Helens Library Service provides regular screenings of films as part of the touring cinema project ‘Small Cinema’. To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, Newton le Willows Library presented a screening of ‘Woman in Gold’ starring Helen Mirren, which tells the extraordinary true story of Maria Altmann as she attempts to reclaim family possessions that were seized by the Nazis during World War 2. The film was well received by the attending audience.

Rescues of the Holocaust Exhibition

Rescues of the Holocaust HMDSt Helens Library Service has been extremely fortunate in acquiring exhibitions from a number of organisations to support Holocaust Memorial Day over the last six years. This year was no exception and ‘Rescues of the Holocaust’ focused on the fascinating stories of Bertha Bracey, Wilfred Israel, Ida and Louise Cook and Raoul Wallenburg who undertook remarkable rescue efforts to save lives imperilled by the Nazi regime. The exhibition was loaned from The Weiner Library and was displayed firstly in Rainhill Library and then Haydock Library. To launch the exhibition, staff in each library organised a candle lighting event attending by members of the public. Local musician Julia Cadman performed a unique choral composition at the event, based on the Primo Levi poem, ‘If this is a Man’

Civic Ceremony

HMD civic ceremonyFinally, the library service helped to organise the civic Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony, held at the Town Hall on Friday 26th January. Children from both primary and secondary schools were invited to perform songs, poems and readings, inviting attendees to reflect and consider The Power of Words, and how they impact on us and those around us. This formal commemoration, attended by dignitaries such as The Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside, The Mayor & Mayoress, St Helens Council Leader, MPs, local councillors, representatives of organisations and members of the public, was a poignant and emotional ceremony but also gave a sense of hope to audience members from the local community.

St Helens Library Service is proud to support Holocaust Memorial Day by delivering events and activities to remember people who have died in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. St Helens Library Service will continue to challenge hatred, embrace diversity and work within our community to create a safer better future."

HMD choir

Forthcoming BBC events for book-lovers

Posted Monday 5 February 2018 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News

Radio 4 Bookclub 20th Anniversary

BBC Radio 4 LogoThe early summer sees the 20th anniversary of Radio 4’s Bookclub, the original BBC Bookclub, presented by James Naughtie on the first Sunday and following Thursday of every month.  Jim has presented every one of over 200 episodes, interviewing, along with a select group of readers, a vast range of novelists, the occasional poet, children’s writer and non-fiction author.  Every single programme is available to download and keep via:

It’s free and a great opportunity to meet a writer at close quarters and hear them dissect a favourite work.  There’s wine too!  Details of forthcoming recordings are always on the website along with how to get in touch.  We are always keen to have new listeners along though places are limited.

Highlights this year:

#LovetoRead is celebrating book clubs this year and Radio 4 Bookclub will be at the heart of this.

From our May programme through to July we will be celebrating with some special authors – and hopefully some special readers in the audience.

As part of #LovetoRead on R4Extra and BBC Arts online, we highlight Bookclub’s magnificent roll call of writers with five authors from our list introducing their favourite programme from the archive.

And we’ll have a specially commissioned animation to share pointing to the many joys of the archive.

And in early November we hope to have a truly global Bookclub to celebrate the annual #LovetoRead weekend, when Jim will come together with Harriet Gilbert and our World Book Club audience from World Service – of upwards of 20 million listeners – in a unique joint Bookclub.  Details to be announced.


The BBC Short Story Awards – bigger than ever with new partners Cambridge University and First Story.

The BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University.  This year’s judges are TV’s Mel Giedroyc, multi award- winning writers Ben Markovits, K J Orr, Sarah Howe and the Books Editor Di Speirs.  The #bbcnssa is currently open for entries from published writers who are British Nationals or UK residents.  Full details on how to enter and eligibility are here and the closing date March 12th.


The Student Critics Award with Cambridge University and First Story, to foster the nation’s next generation of critical readers.  Over 20 schools will participate directly in reading the NSSA anthology and learning some key critical tools.  Schools can apply in April via the website.  And in September there will be a huge set of online resources available for schools, libraries, young readers groups, online.   Full details of how to apply to take part or simply use the resources soon.

Three new Read Regional events in Stockport

Posted Monday 29 January 2018 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News

Stockport have announced two authors and poets who will be appearing there as part of Read Regional 2018. Read Regional are bringing twelve northern writers and their wonderful new books to venues across the North of England. Schools, festivals and libraries in our towns and cities, from east to west coast, are participating
in the campaign, making this a truly region-wide festival of reading.:

Guy Mankwoski(1) Meet Guy Mankwoski, author of An Honest Deceit,  as part of the Read Regional 2018 events. Guy Mankowski’s first novel, The Intimates, was published by Legend Press in 2011. His second, Letters from Yelena, was researched in the world of Russian ballet, and was adapted for the stage for a one-off performance at Dance City, Newcastle. An excerpt from it was used in GCSE training material by Osiris.
His third novel was set in Manchester’s post-punk scene and written as part of a creative writing PhD at Northumbria University. An Honest Deceit was published in 2016.

(2) Read Regional Poetry workshop and readings with Antony Dunn. Join us for an Antony DunnExploring Poetry session, where you can read and discuss contemporary poetry in a friendly environment. Exploring Poetry is for anyone who wants to find out more about contemporary poetry, how to read it and which poets to look out for.The Exploring Poetry leaders, Anna Woodford and Linda France, will work with you to share ideas about what works and how poetry makes you feel. You should come away with an idea of which contemporary poets you might enjoy and ideas of what to read next. The sessions are relaxed and informal, and no knowledge of poetry is required. After the workshop Antony Dunn will be sharing and discussing the poems from his new book Take this one to bed.

Antony Dunn was born in London in 1973, and now lives in Leeds. He won the Newdigate Prize in 1995 and received an Eric Gregory Award in 2000. In 2015, he was the editor of Ex Libris, a volume of selected poems by David Hughes. He has published three previous collections of poems, Pilots and Navigators, Flying Fish and Bugs. Take this One to Bed explores the passions and tensions of how we live together.

(3) Meet Preston born author Jenn Ashworth who will be talking about her latest book Fall.

Jenn AshworthFell is a novel about miracles – wanted and otherwise – magic, healing and the danger of hope. It’s also about a family who run a lodging house on the edge of Morecambe Bay in a little town called Grange-over-Sands. One day, a mysterious and charismatic lodger arrives, claiming that he can heal Netty – the landlady of the house – of her terminal cancer. The novel is narrated by a pair of regretful ghosts, woken into being by their daughter’s return to the now abandoned lodging house. So it’s partly a ghost story, partly an exploration of loss and illness and magic, and
it’s partly about what happens when you do and don’t get exactly what you wished for.

Jenn Ashworth was born in Preston. She studied English at Cambridge and has since then gained an MA from Manchester University, trained as a librarian and run a prison library in Lancashire. Her first novel, A Kind of Intimacy, was published in 2009 and won a Betty Trask Award. Her third novel, The Friday Gospels, was
published to resounding critical acclaim. She currently lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster.

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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