Tuesday, 18 December 2007


to "An Easy Christmas"

not in the office though - oh no.


Chuck Klosterman IV

I love Chuck Klosterman -he did the whole "eating nothing but McDonalds" thing years before Morgan Spurlock and Fargo Rock City is one of my favourite music books ever!


I hear on the grapevine that another refurbishment may be on the cards later this year in a Swansea library.

Watch this space for more news


Well, we've finished buying books for the new library and things are really gathering pace. The fit out of the library is now complete bar all the electrical and ICT equipment and a few bits and bobs like blinds and signage.

We will be going in on 21st January to start stocking all the shelves and training our 20 or so brand new staff prior to opening in mid March.

I will try to get some updated photos soon....

Friday, 9 November 2007

Collective nouns

I can't find one for librarians. Suggestions in use include "a catalogue of librarians", " a stack of librarians" and "a shush of librarians"..

No matter.

Anyway - all Swansea libraries staff will be coming together next week for the 4th annual staff conference - the one day a year when we can all get together for training and development. This year the keynote speaker is none other than Sergio Dogliani of the Tower Hamlets Ideas Stores. In the tradition of Italians bringing excellent innovation to South Wales, we are hoping for a good day.


Yesterday evening at around 8.20pm (while I was complacently watching The Bill), this blog had it's 2000th visitor!

Seems like only yesterday I was announcing the 1000th visitor and I've beaten my self imposed target of 2000 visitors by the blog's first birthday.

It does help that I share a name with an (ahem) "adult entertainment star", but some of you are real... aren't you?

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Recommended reading...


Recommended reading for delegates at the recent Internet Librarian International Conference 2007 was (I kid you not), this blog!!

Here's the proof - http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/conferences/ili-2007/masterclass/

That's the trouble with this blinking internerd thing - do I see a penny in royalties or conference fees?
I do not.
Am I bestowed with great honours by that organisation - what's it called, CLIP?
I am not.

Still the professional recognition, the pride, the warm rosy glow that someone somewhere reads this stuff.........

Wednesday, 31 October 2007


Of course, we could just get all new customers to read this.

That would sort it out - oh yes!

Cultural differences

I know a lot of librarians read this blog, but bear with me a few moments...

Imagine you're a customer. Yes, "customer", not "borrower" as they are small people who live behind the skirting boards. Not "user" - libraries are not heroin, nor even opiates for the masses. Not even "reader", as we all offer much more than that - don't we?

Anyway, for the sake of argument, you're a customer and you're looking for Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking.

You walk into a bookshop - you look around at the headings on the bookshelves - you notice that there is an area headed "cookery" or "food and drink", you think - ah, yes, that sounds right. On closer inspection, you notice that every couple of shelves is a smaller sign "barbecues", "soups", "A-z by country" Ah-ha!!!! a,b,c,d,e,f - French cookery.

You take the initiative - you read the titles and author's names on the spines of the books - OK sorry, getting a bit controversial there. But hey - you did it!

Now the alternative scenario - you walk into a traditional library. There are no signs above the shelves. On the end of each run of shelving, you notice an array of numbers (340-385, 610-649 etc.) You walk further and may notice a decrepid poster filled with a list of these numbers and what they mean, written in arcane language. (If you're a kid, your poster may have a jungle theme but the language will be the same).

OK - you say - I get it, there's some sort of coded system in play here! But, I'm an intelligent human so I can work it out. Right, let's see:

000 - computers, information and general works (nope)
100 - philosophy and psychology (nope)
200 - religion (well Delia's a bit fanatical about eggs but...nope)
300 - social sciences (don't think so)
400 - language (non!)
500 - science (erm, no)
600 - technology (nope)
700 - arts and recreation (ah-ha! The culinary arts! Recreational activity - sounds good, just finish checking)
800 - Literature (nah!)
900 - History and geography (no - hee-hee! I've cracked it, now, off to find the 700 section!)

time passes.


Give up.

Go home or ask the code master.

Of course 641.5944!! "Utilising the sciences to harness the natural world and it's resources for the benefit of mankind" = Cookery! Silly me.

By the way - helpful tip, when you do get to it, if you do get to it, hope there's not too may books on French cookery, because chances are, you won't be able to identify the book you want behind all the spine labels.

There ends today's anti-Dewey rant.

Monday, 29 October 2007


Recently finished The World Without Us by Alan Wiseman.
A great book - coming to a library near you soon!

Hooray, hooray it's Gorseinon Lib-ra-ay!

More information about the Gorseinon refurbishment is available on the Designing Libraries website and on the website of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Apparantly there were 3000 visitors in the first week alone - great stuff!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Gorseinon Library

The refurbishment of Gorseinon Library is now complete and it opened last Saturday to great acclaim. You can read about it here (complete with dreaded "bookworm" reference) but pictures are always better - aren't they?

Monday, 22 October 2007

Central library - peek inside...

Follow this link for a short film (yes, film!!) of the inside of the new Central library as it looks now.

Click here for the article and follow the link entitled "click here for a video tour of the new library" which is under external links just below the picture.

My esteemed colleague was very brave and had to talk with no preparation. She did of course mean "customer service desks" and not "counters"...

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Next please!

Apologies for my absence in recent weeks - just goes to prove that unlike some other blogs, this one is written by me, Paige Turner and me alone, not a group of people posing under a ridiculous made up name.

Anyway, it's interview-tastic this week in library land as we sift and sort our way through the nearly 500 applicants who want to come and work in the new library!

(I told you the Charlie's Angels recruitment campaign would work!)

Lots of excellent people to talk to - looks like we will be spoilt for choice.


Where did it go?

(I had a very nice holiday - thanks!)

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Recruiting soon for new Central library


Had to laugh at this article!

Could this be the future of mobile library services? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Countdown Continues

to the opening of the New Central Library! Spies tell me that painting has now commenced on the first floor of the site. I'm hoping to sneak down myself next week and take some photos - you will, of course, be the first to know!

Summertime...and the living is easy

What terrible weather we've been having this summer. Luckily, Swansea hasn't been afflicted with floods or other such plagues so we are able to enjoy the boost in library visits during the bad weather.

Loads of stuff going on for kids as usual, including the Summer reading challenge, which this year has an environmental theme.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

If I could be bothered

I might conduct a survey into the favourite reads of library staff. I wonder how it would compare with the favourite reads of Waterstone's staff, polled recently to decide their top 100 books of the last 25 years. For those interested, the results can be found here

A Room With a View?

We librarians have to work hard in the call of duty you know. Selflessly, we travel the world in search of the very best printed materials with which to stock our libraries, and bring knowledge and pleasure to the masses.

Sometimes our world collides with less pleasant worlds as in my recent book buying trip to a city which shall remain nameless, and a hotel which shall remain nameless, in an area the luminescence of which could be descibed as "rose tinted" at night.

How we librarians marvelled at our neighbour - "Jonny Diamond's Pink Flamingo", its business too, being about the bringing of pleasure to the masses....

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Adult literacy

An interesting article on the BBC today about how poor literacy is preventing some parents from being able to read stories with their children confidently.
Libraries are doing some excellent work in this area to raise literacy levels among adults (BBC RaW partnership is an example of this) but also to encourage reading from an early age in children with the aim of breaking the cycle.

Bookstart, Flying Start, Read a Million words and the Libraries Summer Reading challenge are all examples of this intervention, to facilitate and develop a love of reading from an early age.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

My favourite things

One of my favourite parts of this job (apart from arguing about the Dewey Decimal system and getting to wear comfy shoes to work) is buying books.

Today, I'm off on a book buying trip for the new Central library with some esteemed colleagues. I like buying most things, particularly adult non fiction and adult contemporary fiction. It's fair to say, in fact, that I like buying books for adults best of all. There is however one exception:

First rule of book buying - I buy the board books
Second rule of book buying - I buy the board books

I hope they've got this one, and this one
No library in the world can have too many copies.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Thursday, 12 July 2007


I am thrilled to announce that this blog has had it's 1000th visitor today!

So, if you were the person reading at around 1.30pm from a City and County of Swansea IP address then

"give yourself a shiny!"

Wednesday, 11 July 2007


Talk to the Hand by Lynne Truss. Very funny polite little rant of a book.

I'm also a big fan of the "Panda says no" campaign in her previous book but it leaves me in a strange place.

At what point in my life did I start agreeing with Daily Telegraph readers?

Thursday, 5 July 2007

You heard it here first..

Well "technically" I suppose it was second, but I did give an inkling didn't I??

What am I talking about? Read all about it here

Good news isn't it? Apart from the "B word". I'm going to start a one woman anti bookworm crusade, but being a good librarian (fnarrr) I am going to document instances of occurence first.

That's 2 - in 2 days.

Please join me on my "bookworm" hunt and stamp out the worm!

I pick my favourite quotations...

.... and store them in my mind as ready armour, offensive or defensive, amid the struggle of this turbulent existence. Robert Burns

Well known in these parts for my ability to use words creatively (a euphemism I suspect for never shutting up), I have been tasked with identifying a few appropriate quotations to decorate the walls of the new Central library.

What a difficult job!

Here's a few that we're considering -


ETA - Shortly after writing this post, I, Paige was gagged by a higher authority. Something to do with not wanting to spoil the surprise. Or was it copyright infringement? Can't remember. Anyway - you'll just have to wait and see...

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Another first!

The pilot RFID self issue system has gone live this week in Morriston library - making it the first RFID library in Wales. We're hoping that the new Central Library will offer 100% self service when it opens in March next year, beating even Sutton who currently claim the highest rates.

My particular favourite thing about RFID is the "animal noises" functionality described in this article in the local paper - and, yes - they did manage to get the word "bookworms" in again!


I love Bookstart; the free books, the universal entitlement, the early intervention into reading and literacy, the improvement of familial relationships caused by "reading together", the funky bag, the bear...


Gets about, doesn't he?

Am I the only one

who isn't consumed with excitement about the forthcoming release of the lastest and (thankfully) last in the HP series?

I always remember casually flicking through this book **warning - rude word in title** and chuckling to myself when I read the description of HP as "a public school conjurer".

Don't get me wrong - it's a great series for children, and I'm sure I'd have loved it when I was 9 or 10 but why oh why oh why do people keep insisting that I try it, when I'm at the ripe old age of "not much past 29".

And the other thing that annoys me (easily annoyed - moi?), is the ridiculous pantomime that poor booksellers have to go to in order to give the book away at a loss.

And another thing , HP and the goblet of fire was in a list of the top 10 books that people start and never finish Seems to me that could be something to do with the fact that every one is about 600 pages longer than the last.

I understand they'll be giving out surgical hoists with the next one.

It's all about me

I read this post at Swashford's blog and it got me to thinking....

Just what is the point of this blog? What do you think? I like to think that it is:

a. a witty insight into the world of public libraries in the 21st century
b. a stroke of marketing genius designed to promote Swansea libraries to the world
c. an opportunity for me to burble on without the risk of being hit (again) by someone in my office

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Gis a Job!

Recruiting very soon for more staff for the new library.

Assistant manager vacancies will be published in the next couple of weeks with the rest of the frontline staff published in the next couple of months.

It's really coming together now!


The Cleaning Bible: Kim and Aggie's complete guide to modern household management

Reading about it makes me feel virtuous, even if I never get around to the practical bits...

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Links to the library catalogue

Look - it works!!!

Thanks "sutlib reader", my boffins have been put to work and by the power of Greyskull I now "have the power"

mwah mwah mwah......

Oh, I see you have a blog too! Very nice.


Watching The English by Kate Fox. Great bit of pop anthropology on the characteristics of "Englishness". I'm not English myslef, but I do suffer from many of the identifed traits.

I am a particular fan of the "denial rule" of public transport - denial that anyone else exists, and sometimes that even you exist. This rule may only be broken on 3 counts:
1. The politeness rule - to say sorry, excuse me or "is anyone sitting there"
2. The information rule - to ask a direct information question, "is this the Paddington train?"
3. The collective moan - something goes wrong, delay is announced, and everyone is permitted to have a whinge, provided that the denial rule is only temporarily suspended and immediately the problem is resolved, everyone goes back to ignoring one another.

Saturday, 9 June 2007


Anonymous said...
Why not link this to your catalogue entry rather than to Amazon?
08 June 2007 19:06

Good question "anonymous". Like all the best questions, this one has a really simple answer - it doesn't work. I'm not sure why - may have to ask an esteemed colleague, but it doesn't.

However, rest assured that you can check availability of any titles I mention at any time by clicking the link on the right hand menu (scroll down a bit).

Not perfect but thems the breaks.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Behind the Scenes at the Museum

.. well the library actually, but I didn't want to miss the literary reference.
So - here we are, an exclusive peek at the new library in progress! Will be updating these as often as I can until opening day...

The Sea, The Sea

What other library in the world has a view like this?

Google is not your friend

says a colleague of mine (although I suspect he nicked it from somewhere)

Well Mr H, you are wrong! Google is my friend. How else do you explain a recent visitor being directed to this site after a Google search for "inspirational librarians"??

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

What I meant to say...

of course, was that the highlight of the conference by far was the fabulous presentation of Mr Peter Gaw "Building new libraries in Wales" which was greeted with tumultuous applause by the hall.

Rather reminiscent of Magaret Thatcher's infamous neverending standing ovation at a Tory conference "back in the day". Not that Mr Gaw is a "child of Thatcher" of course. He's much older than than he looks.

Peter Gaw will be leaving Swansea Libraries soon to take up a position as head of Nottinghamshire Libraries. I'm sure that staff there will soon be able to chant their mission statement at will too.

Yes, definitely the highlight of the conference.

The Italian job

I was reporting undercover last week at the Welsh Libraries (archives and museums) conference at Llandrindod Wells. Usual good cheer in the bar and a pretty positive set of presentations, but many colleagues were left dispirited by the debate on"the future of the profession" at the end of the conference, and the absence of more than a couple of people under 30 at the event.

Highlight for me was Sergio Dogliani's presentation on the Tower Hamlets "ideas store" concept. Often, I hear about these non-traditionally named library solutions for the 21st century, and there's lots of excitement about yoga classes and spanish courses BUT... no mention of books.

However, the idea store concept is centred on books - and that makes me happy.

He really was a very nice man too, a very nice man indeed.

Lowlight was the mention of the dreaded "sexy" word in relation to librarians. At least it wasn't in conjunction with the dreaded "funky".

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Let's have ... "a heated debate"

Interesting discussion over at Annoyed Librarian's blog about the nature of librarians. According to one poster, Librarians:

"are not Scholars, do not appreciate technical skills, are intimidated by scholars, have low self esteem, have no business/organizational skills, are nurturers, do not generally have high IQs, do not have good social skills, think inside of the box, are inefficient, are limited to linear thinking, do not value innovation, are reactive, make mountains out of mole hills, are introverted, are underachievers, focus easily on detail without seeing beyond, never question authority, avoid confrontation at all costs, do not value history, are clueless, complain alot about lack of money instead of addressing their inefficiency, are mindlessly bound to outmoded modalities of dealing with information, never look at the world around them, design systems that serve librarians and not the public, have difficulty making decisions, fear and resist change, don't think well on their feet"

Have no intention of being Dooced , or starting "the great Dewey debate" but I think it makes a few interesting points about the profession (although certainly not true across the board) so I am interested in your comments.

One point to note though, I am most defintitely NOT Annoyed librarian, although I am very jealous of her profile statement.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007


A new webpage has been launched with the plans for the new central library. Click on the 2 links on the right hand side to access the images. Unfortunately they're sideways but you can rotate them for a better look.

Interesting that the patterned carpet was given as much emphasis as the books but rest assured the selection is going to increase massively. I myself spent the whole of yesterday buying boxes and boxes full of philosophy, psychology, sociology, business, politics, poetry and literary criticism titles, while colleagues purchased art, music, history, religion, science and technology books.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Television - the drug of the nation

Very interesting article at the Guardian on the effects of television on young children. The article is based on this research

Makes me want to dig out my copy of this old favourite.

Rising cost of borrowing

According to this article in The Western Mail recently,

"Many schoolchildren in Wales do not know how public libraries work or what they are for...
The National Marketing Strategy survey for libraries in Wales found many children believed they had to pay to borrow books."

Strange isn't it? When I worked in a place where you did have to pay to take books, one of the most commonly asked questions was "is this a library?"

Friday, 20 April 2007


Another library refurbishment looks on the cards for the summer. Can't give any details as yet but it's very exciting so watch this space.....

Photographic evidence

As promised, some lovely photos of St Thomas library. Above you can see across the front of the library (the entrance is out of shot to the right) to the seating area. The children's area is in the back left of the shot. Below is a close up in the children's area of the lovely reading tunnel.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

This Charming Man

There's a charming young man who does excellent work in the arts in Swansea - you may wish to check out his blog although sadly it has not yet attempted to answer the question

"What is Art?"

He does, however, refer to this blog so I forgive him (and for stealing the concept...)


Bad luck and Trouble by Lee Child.

Over too quickly.

Open for business

All quiet on the blog recently as we have been busy getting the new St Thomas library open for business.

The library opened to the public for the first time on Friday evening for a preview event and it was packed. Loads of local people, tonnes of kids and all the local dignitaries turned up. Balloons were given away, crisps were eaten, and some people even borrowed books!

Staff were resplendant in their purple polo shirts, and the library bug even turned up. The library opened properly on Saturday morning with a jazz band parade - which you can read about here

I will be badgering my colleagues for some photos...

Friday, 30 March 2007


The Bookseller has a weekly poll which recently had the topic "What's the most important role of a public library?"

Access to knowledge - 56%
Promoting skills and the joy of reading - 33%
Providing information - 3%
Involving people creatively in the community - 3%
None of the above - 5%

Strange that "Providing a free book lending service" doesn't appear here....

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Website of the week!

Has got to be our new library catalogue. It's not quite finished yet, but I couldn't resist putting the link up so you can have a look and play "spot the familiar location". My favourite picture is the one with the bug in - what's yours?

Men at work

Lots of excitement at Library HQ this week as work is starting on the new central library! I went for a bit of a skulk about a few days ago and was actually standing in what will be the newpapers and magazines reading area! I know I've banged on about the view but it is absolutely stunning - right across the bay to Mumbles head. It's going to be a glorious place to sit and relax.

There's various men in hard hats about the place moving stuff and digging holes - it's like being in a Village People casting session (especially now the weather's getting warmer). Sources in the canteen tell me that the ranks are getting well fed too - so hopefully will have plenty of energy to finish the work on time.

Hoping to get some photos of the interior of the new library soon too - you will, of course, be the first to know!

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Keep on Running...

Some of my esteemed colleagues are running in this year's Race For Life
It's all for a fantastically good cause, so if you feel like it then please sponsor them here


Tuesday, 13 March 2007

and the loveliest of all was the Unicorn...

Our new computer system, Unicorn, went "LIVE" today, amid much excitment, nerves and cake.

So far, so good, not too much chaos and only a few small teething problems. The system is great, loads more functionality than our previous one, great customer interface on the online catalogue and best of all, you can change the screen colour to suit your mood.

Today I am mostly using "winter".

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

We're having a new library!!!

The new library in St Thomas is opening on Saturday 14th April! It's an exciting time as it's our first library co-located with a school. The building is brand new and will combine the St Thomas community primary school, the library and new community facilities, replacing the old school, Margaret Street nursery, library and community centre.

The old library is well overdue for replacing - and is an eyesore on the main approach to Swansea. However, the work that goes on within the library is fab, particulary the children's activities which are usually packed.

Hopefully our loyal customers will follow us up the hill a bit where they will be able to enjoy a spacious, modern space with loads and loads of new books!

Hope to post some pictures soon.... the bug is preening as we speak


and hating Dying Light by Stuart MacBride.

I gave up after murder number 14 with no attempt to solve the crime or develop any of the characters.

This was sold to me as a cross between Rebus and Taggart (both of whom I love) but just because it's Scottish doesn't make it good and there's a difference between gritty and gratuitous.

Not that I mind gratuitous in the right setting - I'm a big Tarantino fan and Jack Reacher never killed a man who didn't deserve to die.

This however is button pushing masking a lack of writing talent (in my opinion....)



and loving The Winter of Frankie Machine by Don Winslow. The film rights have been bought by De Niro who intends playing the title character himself.


Reads with the same languid rhythm as Citizen Vince - another favourite of mine

Friday, 16 February 2007

Inspirational Library Quotes - 1

I was the pride of the public library...until I discovered Smirnoff. - 1965 advertising slogan

If I had been alive in 1965, I would be wondering how they knew. Having said that, I was never the pride of the public library service.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Swans in the library !!!

Clydach library played host yesterday to a couple of footballers from local team Swansea City FC and around a hundred children who came to meet their idols. It was all part of the ongoing national campaign to promote libraries and encourage new customers to join.

The local paper didn't disappoint with it's ability to insert a book related pun into every article about libraries and for that I am grateful.

Sadly Cyril the swan was not amongst the swans attending, but it was nice of the Queen to let us have any at all.

Fame at last

Where are all the blogging UK librarians? asks this article at UK Web Focus.

And look! Look! Me! In some very upstanding company indeed.



Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North by Stuart Maconie. I don't often say this (because it drives me mad when I see it on book jackets) but it did "make me laugh out loud"

In fact I was weeping with laughter at such gems as this reference to annoyingly cheery cockernees "people in the North are perceived as dour because their fishmongers don't dress in rhinestones and hold parades" and "as Dennis Waterman placed his thumbs in his lapels, I felt the blood drain from my face"

Maconie holds the honour of having written the book with the best title ever, in the shape of "Cider with Roadies", which is also one of the funniest books ever written IMHO.

Read it and weep.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

The Who

I can't help noticing that the vast majority of my comments are from anonymous authors. Don't be shy - you can just leave your first name or intials if you like but it would feel a little more personal.

No pressure - just something to think about...

Top of the Pops

The public lending right report, which shows what is being borrowed in the greatest numbers from public libraries, has been published this week and once again Jacqueline Wilson is at the top of the author's list.

The Independant makes much of this and of the fact the JK Rowling "managed to reach only number 42" in this article from yesterday. Jacqueline Wilson is extremely popular, but being the most borrowed author is also heavily influenced (doh!) by the number of books you've written. One of the previous most popular authors (Catherine Cookson) had topped 100, and Wilson's output outstrips Rowling's more than 10 times over.

Anyway - that's no bad thing in my opinion and, bless her, the woman once described as looking like "the world's coolest librarian" finds something nice to say about us too.

"Every author is thrilled to know their books are selling but I know I share with many authors an almost greater thrill when your books are borrowed from libraries.
"My thanks go to the public library service and to librarians everywhere who work so hard to help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy books and reading,"

Libraries in the news

This article from Germaine Greer in the Guardian.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007


Working on the cutting edge again next week at the intriguingly named "Library Innovation training". Apparantly we will strive to learn about retail best practice and how it can be applied in public libraries.

I'm always interested in this type of thing, having transferred from the "dark side" myself. Will be reporting on my return.

Wednesday, 31 January 2007


Looking forward to reading Tete a Tete, a biography of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Satre.

de Beauvoir's America Day by Day is my absolute most bestest favourite travel book of all time (sorry for coming over all Charlie and Lola, but it does bring out the excited 4 year old in me!)

Have just finished an advance copy of The Watchman by Robert Crais, due out next month. It's a spin off from his Elvis Cole series, featuring Cole's sidekick Joe Pike in the lead role.
I love the Elvis Cole books, but I love Pike best of all so this was a great read for me and well recommended.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Swansea Libraries website is the only Welsh library website to get a gold star rating on this webpage reviewing all UK library websites. How exciting!

The family that reads together...

A new report has been published by the National Literacy Trust to highlight again the importance of parents reading with their children.

Particularly interesting in this article is the focus on the importance of reading with older children. In library land we're all too aware of schemes like Bookstart and Bookcrawl to encourage parents to read with babies and toddlers, but this reasearch shows that continuing this with older children can have a real impact on their performance at school and their likelihood to continue reading.

You can find out more about the National Literacy Trust here, and if you are a parent and you want some advice on children's books then your local library is a good place to start

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Pictures at an exhibition

Today, I have had a sneaky peek at some 3D pictures of what the inside of the new Central library is going to look like, as well as the design for the new exhibition area in the foyer of the civic centre.

The library is so colourful - and it looks huge! All the seating is on the side of the building that will have views over Mumbles Head. It's really open and modern too. I love it! Apparantly the design may be made public in February in some way so watch this space for more details.


A great book about alternative British tourist attractions. Read about it here, but be warned there is a rude word in the title.

Internet Cafes that used to be libraries!!!

Splutters the Daily Mail with the usual level of pompous outrage in this article.
It may be true that nationally spending on books is decreasing (although as we all know there are lies, damn lies and CIPFA statistics) but it is thankfully not true in Swansea Libraries - where spending on books is increased at every opportunity.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Youth of today

It's all binge drinking, ecstacy, ASBOS, Parental advisory and pimping your ride.

Or is it?

It seems not, at least going by the 60 or so attendees at last night's art exhibition in County Hall.
There they were, genuine teenagers, complete with Slipknot hoodies and striped tights celebrating their own contibution to a programe of art and creative writing which has taken place in libraries across Swansea over the last year.

They have made masks, painted tiles, written poems and stories, illustrated books and painted huge panels which look like the work of Pablo Picasso's Aboriginal ancestor.

It's what I love about libraries - the versatility, the contribution to the cultural life of the community, the element of surprise and, of course, the keeping of teenagers off the streets.

And - it was literature related, which is the main thing. So many libraries these days seem to consider just about anything to get teenagers through the doors - no matter how divorced from the service they're actually about.

No bugs in evidence (wrong demographic), but there was a fine cake.

Monday, 8 January 2007


to The Blank Franks.

They do, quite literally, rock.

Bug Hunting

The Library Bug was spotted down at Swansea' Winter wonderland (or is it Waterfront Winterland?) last week as part of a promotion for the BBC's RaW campaign. The campaign aims to get families working together to improve their literacy skills (RaW = Reading and Writing), with the emphasis on fun.

Part of this is the "Got Kids - Get Reading" promotion, to encourage people to improve their skills by reading with their children.

Lots of fun was had by all, with storytimes, face painting, circus entertainers and more - some intrepid members of library staff even took to the ice rink to hand out stickers and bugs to children and their parents.

Thursday, 4 January 2007


The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx, a fabulously quirky book which actually suprised me by becoming a very good film. Having Kevin Spacey in it helped of course....

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Tim Coates

Now there's a name to send a shiver down the spine of librarians everywhere (whether that's a shiver of excitement or dread I'll leave up to you).

Thanks Jeff for the mention of Tim's blog. It's certainly a must read for anyone interested in library "goings on" whatever side of the fence you sit on regarding his opinions.

Interestingly, Tim has also picked up on the Washington Post story reported below, but from a slightly different angle.

Books, books everywhere...

Interesting article in The Washington Post about the conflict between libraries keeping books that no-one seems to want because they're great books and keeping books that everyone wants to read because they're popular.

It's a delicate balance to maintain with limited space and limited resources. It's also a chicken and egg situation - do people not want to read The Mayor of Casterbridge because they don't see it promoted to them, or is it not promoted to them because no-one wanted to read it anyway?

Libraries should be braver in what they promote - it's easy to get people to read the latest Harry Potter or Richard & Judy title and we don't have the same demands on our shelf space as retail, where every face out position has a price tag attached.

Is the library a cultural repository or a supplier of entertainment?

I think it should be both. To be fair, the libraries in question state that the books are available in the county, just not in multiple copies across all libraries. Surely this enhances the range available and makes better use of resource funds?

Reminds me of the famous Will Self "wall to wall pulp" comments and surrounding debate that plagued Waterstones a few years ago, although I don't see as many authors weighing in as they did then. I wonder why (£££?)

What do you think?

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

New Year - New Libraries

Happy New Year!
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

2006 was a good year for Swansea libraries, with the opening of the brand new and gorgeous) library in Killay. Clydach library was also completely refurbished and looks lovely with lots of new books. The Swansea Big Read was a massive success, and more babies and toddlers attended events in libraries this year than ever before with the launch of regular rhymetimes in libraries across Swansea.

2007 looks to be an exciting year in library land with the opening of the new St Thomas library in April and of course the continuing work on the new Central library. Rumours abound of one or two other projects up the sleeves of senior library bosses which could see a couple more libraries refurbished this year as well. Fingers crossed!! Preparations are also well underway for the introduction of a brand new computer system which will be brilliant for staff and customers alike, with loads of features.