Time to Read Blog

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.

Hidden depths: Peter Street gets grave

Posted Monday 11 February 2019 by Preeta Press in Author blogs

Peter Street

Northwest publishing house Preeta Press have been in touch about an author and book which have got them excited ...

"Peter had no confidence in reading and writing until at the age of 32, after a serious accident when he badly injured his back, met an English Literature teacher from a local high school who was in the next bed. Both were in hospital for an extended period and during the boring long hours of recovery, Peter decided he wanted to learn how to read and write and the teacher agreed to help him. They have remained lifelong friends.

Following this, Peter discovered he an aptitude for writing poetry and became well known on the national poetry scene and was given a grant to write poetry from the the Royal Literary Fund. He has had several successful published poetry collections.

At the age of 64, Peter was diagnosed with autism and whilst this was a relief it was the impetus he needed to write his autobiography.

Hidden DepthsHidden Depths is the first volume of his autobiography to be published. He chronicles how working as a gravedigger, for the first time in his life, he found social acceptance and friendships.

One of his first jobs was digging in sand and Peter imagined the beaches at Blackpool. Unfortunately, the reality was much more frightening as the sand came into the grave and began to drag him down. Luckily a fellow grave digger noticed the situation and eventually it took two of them to get him out, much to his relief. The next day there was a bucket and spade waiting for him in the workman cabin.

"One of his first jobs was digging in sand and Peter imagined the beaches at Blackpool. Unfortunately, the reality was much more frightening as the sand came into the grave and began to drag him down."

There was also the poignant side of the work when he was given the horrendous job of burying a stillborn baby, made more difficult as he knew the mother personally.

Set in the middle 1960s, the book also tells the love story between Peter and Sandra, who against the wishes of both sets of parents, fought to be together."

Great North West Read 2019

Posted Monday 4 February 2019 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News

GNWR logoWhat is it?

A joint promotion between 22 library authorities in the North West, covering a population of 8 million people and including all Liverpool and Greater Manchester. The aim is to get people in the region reading and talking about one book. This would be in libraries but also with promotions being sought in other outlets and through radio publicity. This theme is modelled on the successful CityReads programme that started in London and will be on a similar scale. The aim for the title is for it to be “popular” with some tie in to the region but the book does not need to be a bestseller or come from a big-name author.

We will provide:

· Potential space for display in over 300 libraries, with an active membership of one million.

· Social media (#GNWR hashtag) and email promotion by library authorities.

· In addition to the assistance of the library authorities, Time To Read has a budget of around £5 000 to use as necessary.

We are looking for:

· Any format or type of book will be considered. We’re looking for one which will be likely to get popular interest which will get people talking and, ideally, reach beyond the traditional library readership. Fiction, non-fiction, modern or classic will be considered. Some themes may be politically unacceptable by some library authorities and so will not be considered, but this will be decided on a case by case basis.

· Some copies for free for the various authorities. Other possibilities include a discount for titles or paying for printing. Preference will be given for a title that is available as multi-copy loanable  e-book.

· Point of sale material would be appreciated. Across the region, we would need 10 000 A5 leaflets and bookmarks, 1 000 A4 posters, and 500 A3 posters.

· As many author visits as possible. It’s understood there would be fewer visits for a “big name” author but a smaller name author would be considered if more visits could be arranged for them.


· October or November 2019. Submissions for the second half of 2020 will also be accepted.

Ian Anstice, timetoread@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk,

‘Even the night took sides.’- Review of Kingdom of Gravity by Nick Makoha

Posted Friday 1 February 2019 by Writing Squad in Writing Squad Reviews

Kingdom of Gravity"In early November Jay rang me up for our semi regularly scheduled poetry recommendation calls. ‘You have to read Kingdom of Gravity!’ he urged me, ‘Let me just read you a few lines and you can make the call then.’ So, he flicked to a random poem and read the following lines,

‘When the hills were on fire,

There were no angels to guide us.

Only the equator was able to divide

The land equally. Even the night took sides.’

Even the night took sides?! EVEN THE NIGHT TOOK SIDES! That line convinced me to buy Nick Makoha’s debut poetry collection, which I have not been able to put down for three months. Kingdom of Gravity does more than make music from the ruins of Ugandan politics and history but speaks to a peoples unbound by simple borders. Makoha somehow becomes a mouthpiece for the dead, the forgotten, the survivors and those who find themselves in ‘a country where they do not know your name.’

It is almost cinematic in the way it manages to weave together narratives from such diverse perspectives evoking a world somewhere between nightmare and reality. Bordering lyric, prose and in some ways oral history, Makoha somehow creates a collection that could easily sit in an archive somewhere the way it deals with topics of authoritarianism, humanity and mortality in Ugandan politics. These are the testimonies of soldiers, priests, politicians, children and in some ways the very earth itself.

"These are the testimonies of soldiers, priests, politicians, children and in some ways the very earth itself"

As a product of the Ethiopian diaspora, Kingdom of Gravity send me crashing back down to the soil I was uprooted from with the force of its vivid imagery and emotive language. But it’s not even its technicality that is so impressive but its ability to capture those tense moments that can rarely be described in words. Kingdom of Gravity is the silence of memory, the one hushed by a generation of AK47s, those lost moments when languages fly around the room just out of reach. It’s that feeling I get when the wheels hit the tarmac at Bole airport. It’s the place we never got to call home.

"Kingdom of Gravity is the silence of memory, the one hushed by a generation of AK47s"


Fahad Al-AmoudiFahad al-Ahmoudi is a Spoken Word Poet studying History at Durham University. He has performed at venues across the UK and Ethiopia and is currently the captain of the Durham University Slam Team. He is also the lead writer and vocalist for a spoken word band called The Poetry Experiment.


@freeformfahad and @thepoetryexperiment

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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