Thursday, 16 July 2009

Calling all Tory Bookworms

I know this blog is popular across the political spectrum, so if you are a Tory Bookworm in need of some reading inspiration - LOOK NO FURTHER.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The old ones are the best

Did I ever blog this? Probably.
Still, no harm in blogging it again...

Breakthrough in Educational Technology

New Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge Device (BOOK) is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology; no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use, even a child can operate it. Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere - even sitting in an armchair by the fire - yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc.

Here's how it works: BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence. Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs. Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now, BOOKS with more information simply use more pages.

Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet. BOOK never crashes or requires rebooting, though, like other devices, it can become damaged if coffee is spilled on it and it becomes unusable if dropped too many times on a hard surface, but it is far more durable than all personal computers on the market.

The "browse" feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish. Many come with an "index" feature, which pin-points the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.

An optional "Bookmark" accessory allows you to open BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session - even if the BOOK has been closed. Bookmarks fit universal design standards; thus, a single Bookmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous BOOK markers can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store numerous views at once. The number is limited only by the number of pages in the BOOK.

You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with optional programming tools, Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylii (PENCILS). Portable, durable, and affordable, BOOK is being hailed as a precursor of a new entertainment wave. BOOK's appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform and investors are reportedly flocking to invest. Look for a flood of new titles soon.

Reasons to be cheerful...1, 2, 3

1. Gowerton library is closed for refurbishment, reopening just before the school holidays start. Obviously the library being closed isn't cheer making, but it will be quite smashing when it's finished

2. 69 people visited this blog this week, even though I hadn't written on it since March. New disciples of the greatest library service in the western hemisphere or disappointed seekers of the "other PT"? (that's a rhetorical question)

3. Spy librarians are coming to Central Library!! Grab your garbadine mac because the chartership seekers of GCHQ in Cheltenham are on their way to see some best practice in public service librarianship

Time keeps on ticking... into the future

A blog I read is subtitled "Full time dad wastes valuable reading time by writing about reading".

I've been wasting valuable blogging time by well, reading. And now I'm going to waste reading time by blogging about reading.

So, I've realised recently that I read like a man. I used to read like a woman, largely fiction, largely women's fiction. A bookcase full of the characteristic dark green Virago and striped Women's Press spines was testament to my reading proclivities. I cared about the Orange Prize. I was a demographic.

Now I read non fiction. I read non fiction written by men. I read non fiction written by men who used to be music journalists. Not exclusively, but enough to make note of.

Is it also relevant that I used to be fiercely monogamous in my reading and now I have a pile of 6 books on the go?

I am currently reading:

Mark Radcliffe's Biography i.e. a book about a bloke
A book about 2 blokes who get an allotment
A book about a bloke who decides to travel around all the places on the shipping forecast
A book about a bloke who does a load of experiements to prove the theory of social economics
A book by a bloke who needs to get a real job, talking about the pleasures and sorrows of work
A book by a bloke who decides to travel around Britain, drinking in a lot of pubs on the way

If I were the subject of RFID based targeted advertising a la Minority Report, and took the advice of the advertisers, I would be buying a lot of lager, gilette razors and tyres right now.

I am still a demographic, just not the right one.

Question: Does it matter?

Thursday, 26 March 2009

My day out

Last week I had a day off. I travelled to a nearby market town and spent an enriching hour or so browsing in the local 2nd hand bookshop. Mr Turner and I spent £11 on 6 books, which we read in the park for an hour. we then went off into the country for lunch before spending another few hours sitting on a bench in the sun reading our new treasures.

This is why ebooks will never be right for bibliophiles. The glare of the sun on the screen; the battery going flat miles from a plug point or docking station; the coldness in the hand; the strange and slightly nauseating one sided weight that never resolves as you read through the book; the sensuous pleasure of the pages rustling, the feel of the paper, the smell of the ink, of the new, of the old; the fact that books really do furnish a room; the updates, the next generation; the flicking, the scrolling, the surfeit of choice crippling the reader; the short attention spans, the publish anything culture, the constant clamour of more, more, more; the battery acid, the plastic, the endless parade of gaudy and unecessary accessories; the consumerism, the soulessness, the decay of simple pleasures; the digital divide, the exclusion, the fashionability; the headaches, the eyeache, the over complication; the magnanimity, ease and credit crunch busting of bookcrossing, charity shops, 2nd hand books and libraries; the erosion of simple and elegant beauty and perfection.

Libraries - recycling since 1850.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

News from the front line

Those of you who follow Tim Coates blog, or library news in general won't have failed to notice the debate about library closures whihc has been rumbling on for a good few years now.

Recently it's come to a head with Wirral's proposals to close half it's libraries. Under pressure from a growing campaign, CILIP stepped into the ring by asking the culture minister, Andy Burnham to intervene using his statutory powers. Here's the latest:

CILIP slams government's inaction

Local people to suffer as government inaction exposes libraries to cutsCILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals has slammed Andy Burnham's decision to neither intervene nor investigate the controversial closures of libraries and cultural facilities agreed by Wirral Council. Secretary of State, Andy Burnham, has a statutory responsibility to safeguard the provision of public libraries in England, but is failing to do so.Bob McKee, Chief Executive of CILIP commented, "As the recession bites and people need their local libraries more than ever, this government has effectively given local authorities complete freedom to close their libraries. Exactly when local authorities are looking to make reductions to meet budget targets for the new financial year, Andy Burnham has made local libraries an even softer target for cuts."The cuts in Wirral library services are looking increasingly like the tip of the iceberg, as more local authorities including Swindon, Nottingham and Warwickshire announce plans to review or cut services. CILIP calls on everyone who cares about libraries, learning, reading, or their community to contact their local authority or Andy Burnham to voice their concern.Andy Burnham's response comes after the Leader of CILIP Council and CILIP’s Chief Executive both formally asked the Secretary of State to review Wirral Council's plans to close almost half its public libraries. CILIP has now been advised that the Secretary of State had considered this case in light of his powers of investigation and "is not minded at this stage to investigate further or intervene."This inaction flies in the face of statistics from local authorities who have seen a surge in library use. An extra 4,989 people joined Cumbrian libraries between September and December 2008, up 39% on the previous year. The Bookseller recently reported that London Borough of Westminster have seen visits increase by 10.5% (634,600) over the three months to the end of January 2009, compared to the same period in the previous year. The Birmingham Mail reported that membership numbers increased by nearly 4,500 towards the end of 2008, taking the number of people who use Birmingham’s libraries on a regular basis to 175,000.
Caroline Moss-Gibbons, Leader of the CILIP Council, points out the inconsistency of this inaction with recent government initiatives, "The Department of Culture, Media and Sport should be embarrassed that while 2008 was the government-backed National Year of Reading, 2009 looks like the year they do nothing while increasing numbers of libraries close."

Bob McKee keenly looks forward to working with the DCMS on the review of England's public library services, “There's an opportunity for the government to provide clear leadership on expected standards of library services. This is necessary so local authorities know what standard of library service they need to deliver, and local people are clear what they are entitled to receive.”

Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep

At the risk of showing my age (which I still like to flatter myself is "quite young" in librarian years), I also get The Birdie Song in my head when using twitter.

My name is Paige Turner...

...and I'm an addict. I'm addicted to Twitter. Unfortuately this addiction is manifesting itself in a way which is having detrimental effects.

Firstly - I can't use it properly, my tweets are like buses, nothing for ages then 3 come along at once.

Secondly, I leap from one topic to another as thoughts jump randomly into my head.

Posts follow each other at rapid fire speed as I become increasingly hampered by the dreaded 140 countdown.

I have to drag myself away - and worst of all, my micro blogging is hampering my macro blogging :(


Friday, 20 February 2009

Stars of page and screen

I was in Swansea central library this afternoon and just had to take a picture of the staff dressed up in "Hollywood Glamour" to promote the DVD service (it is Oscar night you know!)

A regular contributor to this blog has commented before that a "disproportionately high percentage of both male & female SCL staff members are extremely attractive" and I must say, I have to agree!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Extra special reason to be cheerful

Comment number 73 on the One Show piece below reads:

73. At 8:53pm on 09 Feb 2009, Maggietilt wrote:
Very interested in your article about libraries. Swansea has a new library opened last year. It is the best I've ever come across. Books in the fiction section are set out in genre eg crime, historic novels, family saga. A wonderful children's section, can't wait to take the grandson on his visit at Easter. Upstairs in the non fiction section there are plenty of newspapers and magazines with comfortable seating areas overlooking Swansea Bay to the Mumbles. And then when you've finished in the library there is a great cafe to enjoy a coffee. Books can be signed out electronically and returned in the same way, no queing. I can order and renew books on line. Best of all the library is open on Sundays, it was full last Sunday. Swansea really deserve praise for getting their library so right - well done.

What a lovely warm glow of satisfaction...

Reasons to be cheerful...1, 2, 3

1. The comments on this piece

2. The relaunched singles night at Swansea Central Library - it's back! Friday Feb 13th 6pm-8pm

3. Swansea missed the snow this time so Jeremy Strong should be able to get here...

Monday, 2 February 2009

A chicken walks into a library...

( I heard this joke the other day, as told by Joni Mitchell during a radio interview)

A chicken walks into the library. It goes up to the circulation desk and says: "book, bok, bok, boook". The librarian hands the chicken a book. It tucks it under his wing and runs out. A while later, the chicken runs back in, throws the first book into the return bin and goes back to the librarian saying: "book, bok, bok, bok, boook". Again the librarian gives it a book, and the chicken runs out. The librarian shakes her head. Within a few minutes, the chicken is back, returns the book and starts all over again: "boook, book, bok bok boook". The librarian gives him yet a third book, but this time as the chicken is running out the door, she follows it. The chicken runs down the street, through the park and down to the riverbank. There, sitting on a lily pad is a big, green frog. The chicken holds up the book and shows it to the frog, saying: "Book, bok, bok, boook". The frog blinks, and croaks: "read-it, read-it, read-it".

Reasons to be cheerful..1, 2, 3

1. It's not snowing....much.... so all libraries remain open to the good people of Swansea

2. Our new online catalogue is now live... feedback most welcome to iron out teething troubles

3. Jeremy Strong (!) is coming to Central Library next week - we can't wait!!

Friday, 30 January 2009

100% proof

Excitement here as a batch of advance reading copies has arrived today. We have made friends with Random House (at a recent Reading Partners event) and now we're getting proof copies to read and review. For public librarians this is gold dust!

I've got a history of Britpop, a Japanese literary fiction, a history of New Europe, a pop science book about the universe (very light) and an extremely odd looking fiction title.

I'll let you know how I get on

Reasons to be cheerful... 1, 2, 3

1. Fantastic jute bags for only £2 - environmentally friendly, practical, stylish and instant moral virtue comes as standard

2. Credit crunch busting free books for one and all!!!

3. My colleague's desk is not as messy as it could be


To Solid Air, in memory of the late John Martyn, who died this week.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Reasons to be cheerful...1, 2, 3

1. There were loads of babies having fun at baby rhyme time this morning

2. The e-mail system is broken (this could become a reason to be annoyed if it lasts too long)

3. More customer compliments than complaints this month

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Pontarddulais...such a beautiful horizon

Pontarddulais libray reopened in October after a CyMAl funded refit and of course, lots of new books!

Initial statistics are very positive - in the first month visits rose 120% on the previous year, with adult issues up 30% and children's issues up 66%.

Looks nice too

Reasons to be cheerful... 1, 2, 3

1. Swansea Central Library is on course to have loaned half a million items by its 1st birthday

2. So far in January, 1644 people have joined Swansea libraries

3. Ralph and Mud Mouth will be rapping at Penlan and Townhill libraries in February as part of the Read a Million Words project.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Friday, 16 January 2009

Find us on Facebook

Those of you who are on Facebook, can now become a fan of "swansea Central library", "gorseinon library" or preferably both to keep up to date with news and events!

Sign up today for regular notifications.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009


House, season 2 - highly recommended for all curmudgeons and of passing interest to Sherlock Holmes fans due to the similarities in the House/Wilson & Holmes/Watson relationships.


one of my Christmas books,

A nice cup of tea and a sit down shortly to be followed by Enough , although I'm not sure how they'll work back to back. Can you have enough biscuits? Pink wafers maybe, but hob nobs... I don't know.

Hoping, as ever, for enlightenment.

Beat the credit crunch

with the amazing Jauary sale at Swansea Central library - running until Friday!

"New year, new you"

Is the name of the New Year membership drive in Swansea libraries. New customers are being encouraged through some key marketing messages including "do more" "save more" "recycle more" and "learn more".

Some nice artwork has been created by an esteemed colleague of mine and we'll wait and see...