Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Librarian Brews the Alphabet © Coll Hamilton

One of my lovely friends, Coll Hamilton, is a super talented artist and he has created this little image of me for my blog.

It is inspired by my love of tea and books.  I love it! 🙂

Thanks Coll!  You can check out more of Coll’s work on his websitethere’s even some cool Doctor Who illustrations on there too 🙂


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I’m so, so excited about this!

Beware the buttons!

Check out a synopsis of the book here and the film blog here.

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Crime and thriller books top the latest list of  ‘most borrowed books from Scottish libraries*:


1. The Naming of the Dead by Ian Rankin

2. The Overlook by Michael Connelly

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

4. At Risk by Patricia Cornwell

5. Cross by James Patterson

6. Judge and Jury by James Patterson & Andrew Gross

7. The Quickie by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

8. Death’s Door by Quintin Jardine

9. Echo Park by Michael Connelly

10. The 6th Target by James Patterson

Nice to get a snapshot of library borrowing habits like this.  And the BBC report makes an interesting observation, suggesting that Scottish borrowers would rather make their own borrowing decisions than listen to the likes of Richard & Judy…

If you fancy comparing and contrasting the nation’s book borrowing habits, then check out Scotland’s top 100 herethe UK’s top 100  here or the full list here.

List compiled by Public Lending Right (period: July 2007 to June 2008)

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Been looking into city-wide reading initiatives this afternoon and realise that The Lost World Read launches this week. The initiative is part of an even bigger project;  Darwin 200 which celebrates the bicentenary of Charles Darwin and his transformational scientific ideas.   


The Lost World Read 2009

Participating cities up and down the UK will start reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic adventure story about dinosaurs and exploration; The Lost World.    

If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the participating cities then pop into your local public library where you should be able to pick up a free copy of the book; or keep an eye out for discarded copies on park benches, coffee shops and buses as The Lost World is being shared as part of the Bookcrossing initiative.  

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The programme for Glasgow’s annual Aye Write Book Festival is now online.  


Lots happening this year; author events, poetry slams, workshops, plays…even a Doctor Who extravaganza!  

Seems like the Mitchell Library is the place to be for book lovers in March!

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In times of economic hardship people have less disposable income and thus tend to cut down on their luxury goods expenditure.  The purchasing of books, DVDs, music, new technologies and branded groceries, alongside outings to the theatre, cinemas and football matches become less frequent as we all try to tighten our belts a little.  

We’ve been speculating for a few months now that the latest credit crunch might have a positive impact on public library usage and we’re starting to see some real evidence of that.  Recent news stories from America reveal that public library authorities in Santa Fe  and Frederick County have enjoyed an increase in visitor numbers over the last 6-9 months.  There’s also been a shift in how people have been interacting with their local libraries and the types of services that they’re accessing.  Once again, the public library is emerging as a lifeline and invaluable resource for people trying to find new jobs, learn new skills or simply escape from the harsh realities of the recession by rediscovering the joy of reading…

Even a few of my friends who’ve always bought their books from Amazon and who had previously admitted to me that they’d rather browse the shelves of Borders than visit their local library have signed up for library memberships!  Telling times indeed!  

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At the end of 2008 Unison published this timely report which looked at the current state of the public library service in the UK and its volatile future.  

Unison Campaign Leaflet

Unison Campaign Leaflet

The report highlights the public library as a “priceless – if often underused – link with the community” and calls for the government and local authorities to implement the following five point plan to ensure its future success as an involved, relevant, imaginative, welcoming and valued public service in the 21st century:

1. Adequate resources and funding for library services, staff and premises

2. Empowerment of staff and communities to shape services together

3. Partnership working between libraries and councils across the UK to share information and good practice

4. Responsiveness to library users from all backgrounds

5. Provision of staff training and professional development

Concise explanations for each point are provided in the full report –  Taking Stock: the future of our public library service (Unison, 2008).

An incredibly informative and enjoyable read; ideal for anyone currently facing the challenge of having to defend the value of public libraries within our communities!

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In 1988 the staff of a small community library in Spencer, Iowa received an interesting return through their overnight library book drop; a tiny tabby kitten. The library staff immediately adopted the kitten, naming him Dewey Readmore Books – the perfect name for a library cat!

The remarkable story of Dewey’s life and the impact he had on the lives of library staff and the wider community is now the subject of a bestelling book by Spencer Public Library Director Vicky Myron and a forthcoming feature film rumoured to be starring Meryl Street as the Library Director – cool!

Don’t think the book is available in the UK until 2009 so might have to add it to next year’s Xmas list…

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One of the best things about attending an international conference is that you get to meet people that you would probably never have come across otherwise.  And that’s exactly what happened at IFLA.  After spending some time at the ‘Cocktail evening’ with some lovely librarians from the Legislative Assembly of Ontario we made arrangements to visit them at their library in Toronto.

Books at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario

Books at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario

It was great to get a behind the scenes tour of a government library; it offered so much more than a simple ‘tourist visit’.  It’s interesting because the Government Librarians were discussing the same issues that  concern us in public libraries.  For example, how to keep attracting users to visit the physical building when more and more of the resources are appearing online…I guess we’re all under increasing pressure to create desirable destinations for our users to visit.

Latin grammar book from 1400s

Latin grammar book from 1400s

We also got a chance to have a look in their ‘vault’ and I got to flick through a book that was written in 1425, which was a real treat.  Afterwards we had some time to chat with some of the cheeriest cataloguers I’ve ever met and I think we’ve made a couple of friends for life, which is great!

So, there you have it…a visit to a government library turns out to be one of the highlights of our trip – who’d have thought it?

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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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