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.

Costa Book Awards Winner Announced

Costa has announced its book of the year!

Kate Atkinson has been pipped to the post by début author and mental health nurse Nathan Filer with his book, The Shock of the Fall. Chair of the final judges, Rose Tremain CBE, said: ‘This book stood out in a very good list. The voice in which the author has chosen to tell his story is perfectly aligned with the subject matter and very well sustained to the end.’

Costa Tips for Short Story Writing

Need some help writing short stories?

Victoria Hislop, one of this years judges for the Book Awards, has offered her top ten tips for writing short stories. They’re available for download on a handy PDF file here: https://www.costa.co.uk/media/117364/Top-10-Tips-for-Writers.pdf

Voting for the Costa Short Story Award 2013 is still open, closing on 17th January 2014, and you can read and vote for your favourite of the six short listed stories here. You can even download the stories to read or even listen to and from the same page, you can also check out last years stories too.

The winners of the Short Story and Book of the Year Awards will be announced later this month. Details for the 2014 competition have not yet been announced but you will find a general timeline for the competition on the website.

Costa Book Awards

Costa Coffee has announced its category winners for its Book Awards 2013. The overall Book of the Year Award will be announced on the 28th January 2014.

The Costa Children’s Book Award: Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell

 

 

 

 

 

The Costa Poetry Award: Drysalter by Michael Symmons Roberts

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Costa Biography Award:The Pike by Lucy Hughes-Hallet

 

 

 

 

The Costa First Novel Award: The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

 

 

 

 

The Costa Novel Award: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

 

 

 

 

 

Should Kate Atkinson’s book be announced as the book of the year, it will be the first time a woman has won the main award twice. Good luck to all!