Archive for July, 2008

Earlier this week a group of Library Science students from across America visited us at the University of Strathclyde as part of their study tour of the UK.  It was brilliant to meet up with them and to discuss both the differences and similarities between libraries in the UK and USA.

Hurricane Katrina hits Martin Luther King Library (Photo Courtesy of NOPL Rebuild)

Hurricane Katrina hits Martin Luther King Library (Photo Courtesy of NOPL Rebuild)

It was also a privilege to hear first hand from some of the students about the long term impact that Hurricane Katrina has had on communities and individuals across the Gulf Coast.  This has proven invaluable in terms of my own research into the social value of public libraries as I’m planning to investigate the role that public libraries play in the rebuilding and transforming of communities following natural disasters.

Accompanying the students on their tour was Dr. Teresa Welsh, who in addition to teaching at the University of Southern Mississippi, is also involved in the Katrina Research
Centre, which aims to:

“…preserve and expand upon the lessons of Katrina and disasters like her for the benefit of those who will

face the challenge of the next epic catastrophe” (Katrina Research Centre, 2008).

Martin Luther King Library re-opens as a 'beacon of hope' to the community (Photo courtesy of NOPL Rebuild)

Martin Luther King Library re-opens as a 'beacon of hope' to the community (Photo courtesy of NOPL Rebuild)

I’m so pleased that I found out about this project at an early stage in my own research.   I’ll be sure to check the website regularly for research findings, photos and news in order to help build my depth of knowledge of the social and transformational value of public libraries in the face of adversity and tragedy.

Out of disaster comes hope and inspiration and I feel that there is much to be learned from the people of the Gulf Coast and their formidable library services.   




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I was one of those children who preferred reading to playing ‘red rover’ in the playground at lunch time. I used to overhear my gran and my aunts witter on to my mum that I always had my nose stuck in a book when I should be ‘out playing’.   But I think my mum was over the moon that I was interested in reading about things outside of my own little bubble.

It’s not that I was anti-social or anything like that, it’s just that the characters created by authors like Enid Blyton, Paula Danziger and Judy Blume always seemed much more interesting than my cousins – seriously, how many times can you play hopscotch or hide and seek over the school holidays before you lose your mind?! 😉

So I was delighted to come across this new study via the ALA newsletter about the positive impact of reading fiction.  Conducted over a three year period by researchers in Toronto it reveals that by reading lots of fiction, children and young adults can improve their social skills; making them much more aware of the world around them; helping them to deal effectively with life’s challenges and participate confidently and effectively in social situations.

I’ve always felt that books like the adventures of the Famous Five and It’s an Aardvark Eat Turtle World set me up for life…so, three cheers for fiction; I don’t think we celebrate it enough!

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I never thought I’d post about a Dolly Parton concert on this blog, but here we go…

Last Friday night Dolly played two sold out gigs in Glasgow and I was lucky enough to be there on the Friday night. The show, as you’d expect was brilliant and full of all of tDolly Parton Imagination Libraryhe lovely clichés we’ve come to expect from her. One thing I did NOT expect however, was for her to start chatting about how much she valued libraries and the important role that they’ve played in her life.

Inspired by the potential and power of public libraries to change lives for the better she launched the first Dolly Parton Imagination Library in 1996, in her hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee; supplying registered children with a free book every month, for the first five years of their lives. It’s hoped that by receiving these books children will be able to start school with improved literacy, a hunger for knowledge and an appreciation of different cultures.

The project is a big hit in the USA and just last year the first UK Imagination Library was established in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Check it out here.

Dolly Parton loves libraries, who’d have thought it? I always knew she was cool!:-)

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