Libraries Week kicks off today (5th October), featuring behind the scenes looks at authors' bookshelves, a nationwide live reading of The Midnight Library by author Matt Haig (Canongate) and the launch of a Bonnier book club.
The initiative launches with a virtual event in partnership with Authors Aloud UK, called My Library, My Books and Me. Annie Everall, director of Authors Aloud UK, is joined by authors including Anthony McGowan, Beverley Naidoo, Bali Rai, Jasbinder Bilan, Savita Kalhan, Philip Ardagh and poet Paul Cookson. The panel will kick off the Libraries Week celebrations, with the writers sharing stories about the libraries and books that have shaped their world.
Taking inspiration from the BBC Novels that Shaped our World project, Libraries Week is also asking the nation to reflect on the books that have most influenced them and share photos of their bookshelves or stacks on social media with the hashtags #ExpressYourShelf and #LibrariesWeek.
Every day on YouTube, CILIP’s #NationalShelfService will broadcast authors and illustrators from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, sharing insights into the books that have inspired them.
On 8th October, The Reading Agency invites book groups and libraries to join a nationwide virtual event with bestselling author Haig, where he will read from his bestselling novel The Midnight Library. He will appear in conversation with The Reading Agency co-founder and creative director, Debbie Hicks, to discuss the book's message of hope and why we must protect our libraries at all costs.
Haig said: “For me, a library is a perfect metaphor for parallel lives. Libraries are a portal to thousands of different universes. They are one place where we can go, where we are free to be ourselves and without spending any money at all we can enter and access different worlds. So when I thought of parallel lives, I instantly thought of the library.”
On 9th October, the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards will announce the winners of the Shadowers’ Choice Awards, voted for by children and young people who take part in its shadowing scheme. Groups have voted for their favourite books from the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal shortlists.
The week is organised by CILIP, the UK’s library and information association. Nick Poole, its c.e.o., said: “This year, I am proud to take a moment to celebrate everything that libraries have achieved when faced with unprecedented challenges, showing how innovative, creative and essential they are in supporting their communities.
“While the country was in lockdown, local authorities reporting increases of 600%–700% in people registering with their local library. Through library-led initiatives such as the #NationalShelfService and #LibrariesFromHome, led by our friends at Libraries Connected, you can get a sense of the sheer diversity of what libraries are doing and how quickly and creatively they have adapted their services to the digital space.
“The digital offer has been remarkable, but as the nation rebuilds and libraries reopen, it is more important than ever to see the restoration of face-to-face services that enable libraries to serve all of their community. Libraries Week is a great opportunity for us to celebrate and thank librarians for the incredible work they do and to help secure the future of professionally staffed libraries.”
Also celebrating the week, Bonnier Books UK has launched a new digital book club with Cambridgeshire Libraries. Starting this month, the Library.Live Book Club will feature four books selected by librarians to cover a range of interests for its members each month, with the books available as e-books and e-audio versions for borrowing.
The books will be available to library members via Borrow Box, the Bolinda e-lending service, and the book club will be hosted on a new web service offered by Cambridgeshire Libraries called Library.Live. The October book selection is The Foundling by Stacey Halls, The Catch by T M Logan, The Secret GP by Dr Max Skittle and The Phone Box on the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina.
Perminder Mann, c.e.o. of Bonnier Books UK, said: “There has never been a more important time to support your local library. With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to disrupt our daily lives and the country having to spend much more time isolating at home, access to great books can be a lifeline. As content creators, we seek to educate, entertain and inspire. Libraries are no different, and play an essential role in our communities. We are therefore delighted to be partnering with Cambridgeshire Libraries on this initiative.”