Libraries like Café’s? Uh, what?

Yes, I am getting on my soap box about libraries again but I feel the need to talk about it.

Wakefield One, Wakefield. Source: Wakefield First

I have been meaning to write about this since seeing a report in the Daily Mail (a UK daily newspaper) that talked about an independent report calling for libraries to become more like Costa Coffee shops. You can read the original report here. What has spurred me to finally write about it today (not least of all because I haven’t posted this week) is a quote MyLittleBookBlog posted yesterday:

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries”Anne Herbert

I have no doubt the authors of the report mean well and agree with Mr Sieghart when he says how important libraries are to those who are the poorest in our society. I also agree that Wi-Fi has to become a necessity for libraries to continue to survive and thrive (digital book lending on e readers anyone?), the need for comfy sofas and toilets as well as offering other services to make the library a community hub but the part that made go “uh, what?” is the suggestion that hot drinks should be offered in libraries. I think he has missed something very important in that regard. If libraries offer hot drinks along with everything else, doesn’t the library then become a café with books to browse and read?

There is a reason why there is a rule in most libraries that I have visited that no food or drink is allowed near the computers in the library at least: it’s called health and safety and making sure that other people don’t gag over horrible food smells! By all means offer food and drink but NOT in the library itself!

I am proud to say that most libraries in the Wakefield area offer comfortable areas to sit and read, toilets and programmes for the community as well as a place for the older members in the area to meet and talk to other people. Frequently, the library staff are the only people they talk to all week. In my mind, the libraries offer a great value for money service. A library building that offers everything that the report says need to be all libraries is the Wakefield One building in Wakefield however hot drinks and food are only available in Create Cafe downstairs and food and drink is not allowed near the computers.

So it is possible to cram all of what this report is saying libraries need to do but libraries like coffee shops? Uh, no. I doubt libraries are actually heading for disaster if they don’t incorporate all of this but let’s maybe have more like the libraries in the Wakefield area and Wakefield One but keep libraries and coffee shops as separate entities. Possibly the best compromise available.

P.S.: Find out more Wakefield Libraries and the latest news by visiting the Wakefield Libraries blog and check out Wakefield (and it’s library) during the Food, Drink and Rhubarb Festival taking place Friday 20 to Sunday 22 February 2015.

Too Early?

Source: Adventures of a Yorkshire Mum

First things first, sorry for not posting much this week. Second of all, this is a bit of a ramble, sorry. Again.

Perhaps it’s because it is the horrible back-end of January, I am bored and have, let’s face it, very little to do beyond job hunting but my brain is already thinking about Camp NaNoWriMo in April. And it’s started planning the story already.

I am not going to go into details now about the story (I need something to write about come end of March!) but me thinking about it has also got me thinking, is it too early to start planning anything? And what can I do between now and end of March? I am trying to write what I can at the moment, which is very little if I am being honest, but I am finding myself at a loose end. February brings Valentines Day, Shrove Tuesday and Chinese New Year, things to write about but back-end of January can be so boring because it is back to the daily grind.

This past Monday (19th January) was the most depressing day of the year. Yes, we’ve had snow here in the UK with all the usual grinding to a halt that usually happens but beyond that, nothing. January is so quiet, it leads to me thinking and to me planning for April. I know it’s not a bad thing to plan early but considering I want to give myself stuff to do later in the year, I just don’t know what to do with myself.

Anyone got ideas? Are you bored this January? What has everyone else been doing to keep boredom at bay? Also, is it too early to be thinking about April Camp session?

Film Review: Mrs Caldicot’s Cabbage War

I know! A film review! Only a quick short one really.

Source: GoodSearch Images

Mrs Caldicot (Pauline Collins) has been kept under her husband’s thumb for years so when he dies, she thinks she has the perfect chance to become independent. Her son (Peter Capaldi, long before Doctor Who) and daughter-in-law however force her into a retirement home where she is drugged to keep quiet and forced to sign over her house to her son. However, when the drugs wear off, she incites revolution among her fellow inmates, leading to her to discovering her fire and creating more change than she anticipated.

This British film does not sound like it is going to be particularly entertaining at first however Pauline Collins soon warms you up, getting the audience to relate to the character through the themes of finding independence and fighting against a system that is wrong through, initially, small acts. Capaldi is wonderful in his role of the manipulative son (attack eyebrows included), with fellow Doctor Who star Annette Badland as the homes cook and Tony Robinson of Time Team fame as chat show host, Nick Reid. There are some laugh out loud moments, mixed in with warm moments whilst also asking questions about the treatment of our aged and elderly that are as relevant today as they were back in 2002 when the film was made.

It’s not exactly a film that would grace TV’s at prime time and is more suited to a quiet Sunday with the family to curl up and enjoy. Not all plot lines I feel are tied up, the ending comes out of nowhere and character development, away from Mrs Caldicot, is minimal, if any happens at all. It certainly could draw lessons from fellow Brit comedy-drama Keeping Mum, which also features a lot of British talent. Some fleshing out and rewriting was needed in places. Unfortunately, this does let down an otherwise funny, warm film.

Definitely a film to curl up with a slow day but certainly not the best. I know I, at least, would rather watch Keeping Mum or Call the Midwife over this.

A Question about Rewriting

Muslim Beauxbatons student by Celeste Doodles. Source: Celeste Doodles Tumblr Page.

This isn’t a post so much as me asking for advice. I hope folks don’t mind.

I recently started rewriting an old story, a story that I started in college (that’s 16-18 for folks outside of the UK) and only finished in 2012 as part of my NaNoWriMo for that November. The rewrite was inspired by the picture, left, on Tumblr of a Muslim Beauxbatons student, by Celeste Doodles. (If you click on the image, it takes you to the page of the original picture). It got me thinking about my FMC in the story and her appearance.

Now, I have thought about rewriting the story in question a few times, mostly through changing the FMC as well as some other characters but none of the angles seemed to work. As I said, when I saw the picture, it got me thinking about the FMC and her appearance in the first instance. I considered giving her a headscarf and then thought, why is she wearing it. The reasoning I have come up with since after talking to others for her headscarf is to do with vanity but I am also considering maybe giving some underlying spiritual reasoning. (She’s not going to be Muslim as she lives in another world to our own).

From this, my mind turned to other aspects of the character in general. That led to me reconsidering other parts of the story and the new set up that I have developing from those decisions makes it fairly far removed from the original story that I had written over the years.

I know changes to characters and the story are normal during the rewriting process but I am wondering how big changes to the story a writer should make from one draft to another? Should they be far-reaching, heavily changing lots of aspects of characters/story all at once or should the changes come slowly and be introduced slowly over a succession of drafts?

Curious to how others view this issue as I am a little intimidate with how big the changes are whilst also being comfortable with it. It’s crazy.