Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival holds inaugural library conference

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival holds inaugural library conference

This year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival will host an inaugural library conference with speakers including Ann Cleeves and Arts Council England c.e.o. Darren Henley.

Up to 100 library professionals are set to attend the conference at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, on 19th July during the 16th edition of the writing event, delivered by arts charity Harrogate International Festivals.

The industry event will feature training on marketing and social media to attract new audiences to libraries led by Stewart Bain. The former senior library assistant at Orkney Library was dubbed ‘Twitter’s favourite librarian’ by The Times, with his posts attracting 28,000 followers.

Panels will also look at engagement in the modern world, and how libraries can engage with publishers and build relationships. Attendees will also be offered a free ticket to events on the Friday evening.

This year the festival will also deliver its 11th annual Big Read, supported by the Arts Council, with current reader in residence, author Mari Hannah. It aims to encourage crime fiction fans and entice reluctant readers, to read and discuss the same book and utilise their local library service.

The Big Read takes place from 3rd to 14th June in libraries across Yorkshire and the north east with 1,500 free copies of Michael Connelly’s The Black Echo donated by Orion.      

Beth Walker, marketing and communications coordinator at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “We’re passionate about promoting reading, and the importance of libraries within communities. One of the things we discovered with our work with libraries around the Big Read was how much pressure is on librarians to deliver so much with so few resources.

“Despite the enormous challenges at a time of brutal cuts in the last decade, library professionals have enormous passion for their vocation. We wanted to give them a platform that showed they were valued in the literary community, and to use learning from the conference to build on our outreach work to help support and safeguard their future.”