Make A Noise In Libraries Fortnight

Hurray for libraries for being inclusive of readers of all abilities!

Wakefield Libraries


Make A Noise In Libraries fortnight is an annual campaign to highlight the services available in libraries for blind and partially sighted people, to try to improve their access to books and information.

•We have a large range of books in large print and audio. All our libraries stock books in these formats and our free request service brings your choice to your library.
•We have a wide range of free Online services to access from home, including free talking books, language courses and magazines to download.
•Readers Groups meet throughout the District to chat about reading and audio books. Book titles are provided. Contact us if you would like to find out about the support we offer VIP groups.
•If you find it difficult to visit your local library, we can bring the library service to your home through our Home Library service. Our Mobile Library has regular stops…

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Why do we need to protect our Libraries and their Services?

I wasn’t intending to post today however, whilst having a look on the BBC News website, I came across an article saying that there has been a drop in visits to our libraries here in the UK. You can read the article concerned here.

It got me thinking about the impact of the Coalition Governments cuts and how they are effecting everyone as they filter down from Central Government, to local level then down to the impact on the normal everyday person on the street. It might only have been at voluntary level but I have worked in my local libraries service for 3 out of the last 4 summers and through that, I have seen how my local community uses the library service. I have also used my local libraries and the libraries in my university area to help with researching for assignments for my degree and for writing Camp NaNoWriMo and November NaNoWriMo.

Firstly, I feel I should dispel a long-held view of libraries I often get levelled at me when I talk about them: no, libraries are not just for books and no, the librarians are not old women always going, “Shh!” That might have been the case in the past but now, libraries act as community hubs.

Libraries often host sessions which help children, young adults, adults, the elderly and the vulnerable. Certainly, the library I worked at had Baby and Toddler story and rhyme time events, summer reading challenges, arts & crafts and games sessions for children, job hunting help for the unemployed, citizens advice had a drop in session once a week, knit and natter sessions and coffee mornings. Computers are available for anyone who needs them (members and guests alike) and of course the books to educate and entertain people.

For some people, their trip to the library is their only contact with other people for that week. For other people, it is their only access to computers and the internet and when people are job hunting, they can only get so far with looking at newspapers. Children may not have access to books at home for whatever reason so a trip to the library, either with a family member or school, might be their only way of being able to read, free of charge. For college and university students, they offer quiet spaces to work, access to some books that would otherwise be out of reach (either by cost or unavailability) and give them the ability to work on their essays, assignments and dissertations. They can also give those work spaces for people who want to work on their own things, like anyone working on a novel for Camp and November NaNoWriMo’s, and some libraries provide rooms for groups to hire to hold their own sessions.

So why do we need to protect libraries and their services?

We have already seen a drastic drop in library services here in the UK and we cannot afford to continue losing these services. They give so much to communities and they are used in so many different ways that losing them could potentially destroy communities, isolate people and remove such important opportunities to our children, which will affect their literacy levels and futures both in school and in their careers.

Somehow, some way, we have to protect them!


Banned Books Week: Why Do We Ban Books?

I was going to do a piece on the representation of women in modern media, focusing on fictional texts, today however, after going on the Guardian newspaper website, I decided to do something about the concept of Banned Books instead. Not least because I have a feeling I will need to do a lot of research for the representation article.

I had never heard of Banned Books Week until last year but it was only this year have I actually looked into what the week was about. Though it is fairly obvious, Banned Books Week is the annual right to read celebration from the American Libraries Association. It celebrates the books that have been banned for various reasons.

For me, it has amused me finding out which books are banned and why. Some books which have been challenged, like the Captain Underpants books, are just laughable. Apparently the books are inappropriate for children of a certain age and due to the language. Other books, like E.L. James‘s 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, I can understand a bit more. I don’t think I need to go through the reasons why, though sadly none of the reasons are about the dismal writing.

Sex is a frequent reason as to why books are banned but I’m curious about why someone would want to ban a book in the first place. I agree with a quote by Isaac Asimov, an author, who said, “Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.” Now, I know there will be certain subjects and themes, like pedophilia and bestiality, that would raise objections and I understand them, but my question, why do we ban books?, comes from the fact that even in our modern age, books like And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, have been challenged due to its homosexual themes.

Now, if this had been a book released in the past, when homosexuality was viewed as anything but normal and even when it was a criminal offence, then yes, I could perhaps understand. But no, this book was released in a modern world, in countries which accept homosexuality. The book was inspired by 2 male penguins hatched and raised a chick in a New York Zoo.

Personally, I don’t understand why people would want to ban books, especially ones like the aforementioned book, especially when they are children’s books. Surely And Tango Makes Three would be a good way to introduce concepts like homosexuality to children. It is part of society and part life.

If we want to help people in general to become better people, to expand their horizons and create an even better society than what we have now, reading is a fantastic way to do it and books are brilliant ways of introducing these sorts of concepts and ideas.

Enter the Creepy House

These are excellent schemes and I speak as someone who has both participated and help run these events in my local library.


Wakefield Libraries


There’s a spine-tingling adventure waiting in Wakefield Council libraries this summer. Children can discover Creepy House, the Summer Reading Challenge 2013 and join a gang of young explorers as they work their way through three thrilling floors, The Awful Upstairs, The Gruesome Ground Floor and The Spine-tingling Cellar! As they discover the secrets of the house by reading library books and they can collect stickers to add to a special fold-out poster.
Dare them to enter the Creepy House! It’s free to join by visiting any Wakefield Council library from Saturday 13th July. They can choose books for themselves and there will be prizes to win as they read, including a gold medal and certificate if they can read six books. It’s for children aged four and over and it’s a great chance to share books and talk about reading as a family. There will be lots of Creepy House…

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Book Review: More Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops by Jen Campbell

I know I haven’t posted for a couple of days but life got in the way. I have however finished another book, as well as this one, in the last few days so I will be posting two reviews today. Moving on, this particular book is only a short book so this will probably be only a short review.

More Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops is the sequel to the original book and features conversations and quotes from customers in bookshops, either to the bookseller or to another customer, which have happened in either in the shop that the author works in or from other bookshops and libraries around the world. There is also a section about quotes from customers from when Jen Campbell was signing copies of the original book.

The original book kept me giggling and laughing and this book was no different. One of the quotes left me literally crying with laughter (I will post it at the end of this review) whilst others left me as confused as the booksellers and the librarians featured in the book. It also left me wondering about some of the customers. I can’t describe what I mean as I can’t even put my thoughts into words. I think the best way to describe it is that it just leaves me wondering and makes me question how some people’s brains work. I think everyone knows those people that they sometimes are left wondering about and I think that some of those people must feature in this book. The last section also shows that some people have some pretty weird ideas and shows that some traditional ideas about writers still persist.

Moving on though, I loved this book and would highly recommend it to everyone, particularly if you work in a bookshop or a library and/or go into shops or libraries a lot. It certainly gives you a new perspective on the people who go in. And I will finish, as promised, on my favourite quote:

CUSTOMER: I need to return this book on ghosts.

BOOKSELLER: Is there a problem with it?

CUSTOMER: Yes. It’s haunted.

Susan Holland: SmithBooks, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (p.94)