My #librariesweek

Its National Libraries Week in the United Kingdom, a celebration of everything that’s great and glorious about public libraries and what they offer.  There have been countless events, talks and activities being hosted the length and breadth of the country and library authorities seem to have gone all out to demonstrate their value within the communities they serve.

I have got involved too as the #100mphdog has become the 100 mile dog with visits to Stoke on Trent, Bolton and Nottinghamshire as well as spending some time as a visitor to Telford Libraries ahead of my appearance at the Wellington Arts Festival 2017 (one of the largest free literary festivals in Britain).

As I type this its just gone 7am on Saturday morning and I’m en route to Bolton.  Tomorrow my day will be taken up with getting to and from Mansfield.  This morning the train is pretty busy and I’ve got a carton of orange juice, my lap top and a load of football fans for company.  I may be working all weekend away from Lauren and Verity but it’ll be worth it; Bolton are one of my favourite authorities to work with and the library team in Nottinghamshire are a lot of fun.  This weekend we’re not only celebrating #librariesweek but the Summer Reading Challenge as children and their families collect their certificates at ceremonies laid on by the library and I provide the entertainment.  I did a celebration event a few weeks back in Bromley and was struck by how much meeting the mayor meant to the children and their families.

I have probably said it in this blog before but its a real privilege to share stories in wonderful library spaces.  In recent weeks we have begun taking Verity along to rhyme time sessions and borrowing books with her.  She enjoys being in the library and literally eats books.  This year I celebrated 5 years of work with libraries.  What started with a handful of London’s libraries has expanded beyond my wildest expectations but I still love visiting new libraries and communities.  Whenever I work with a library they give me a platform to tell a story; it might entertain, inspire or challenge a young person and that’s brilliant on so many levels.  There’s a lot of satisfaction in knowing that the library believe in you and these days its affirming to see familiar faces in library audiences.  In Stoke on Trent we did two presentations; at Hanley and Stoke libraries.  I have been telling Jeremy Strong’s “The Hundred Mile an Hour Dog” since June; sometimes its the 5mph dog but so far this week its been the 110mph Dog.  One teacher even remarked that it had been worth filling in the risk assessment to see it!

Next week it won’t be libraries week and all the verve and vibrancy that has crammed my social media timelines will subside but library life will continue and it won’t be long before there’s another big event and libraries will pull out all the stops again.  As for myself I will be working hard to ensure that I can work with libraries in the very near future and that the events I offer continue to be of a standard and quality that these fine institutions deserve.