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.