Bolton Museum and Library Service had a surprise visitor this week when Sir Ian McKellen called in and took part on the Celebrating Shakespeare #Shakespeare16 campaign to mark National Shakespeare Day on 23 April 2016 by taking his own selfie.
You can see Sir Ian reading an extract from As You Like it during his visit.
Celebrating Shakespeare 2016 (CS 2016) will mark the bardʼs 400th anniversary with library events and activities over several months. It will build on last year's successful pilot project - 'Shakespeare Week - Celebrate in Libraries' and is funded, to the tune of £95,500, by Arts Council England (ACE). The grant means English library services will be able to commission (centrally approved) artists, writers and performers to work on their Shakespeare celebrations.
Celebrating Shakespeare 2016 launched during Shakespeare Week (March 14 - 20), followed by a mass participation event in libraries and bookshops across England for the 400th anniversary today, Saturday April 23. The library celebrations will then continue, with arts-based events and activities, from May to the end of October.
The Society of Chief Librarians is working with a number of high-profile partners to ensure maximum reach and impact: the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Association of Children’s and Education Librarians, The Reading Agency, Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, BBC Learning, Booksellers’ Association, British Library and Royal Shakespeare Company. The CS 2016 steering group is chaired by SCL National Executive member Ayub Khan MBE.
CS 2016 aims to introduce younger children to Shakespeare in a fun way, to interest teenagers in a playwright who was arguably the rapper of his day, and encourage adults to revisit his works with a fresh eye. In short, challenging and changing any perceptions of Shakespeare as stuffy, 'schooly' or boring.
The ACE funding is great news at a time when most library budgets are under pressure. The generous grant means library services can be more ambitious and creative in their plans to mark the 400th anniversary of England’s most famous writer, whose works are known and loved around the world.
Make sure you call into your local library to take your own #shakespeare16 selfie.