I hate the term “beach reads” – it seems to suggest that our taste in books goes downhill as soon as we go on holiday! So there’s no mention of a beach in our July display, just a couple of buckets and spades, some nostalgic seaside posters and words from the 1907 song:
Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside
I do like to be beside the sea!
I do like to stroll along the Prom, Prom, Prom!
Where the brass bands play:
Not everyone loves football but everyone loves a picnic so I used an old picnic basket and filled it with books and a jug of artificial flowers for our latest display. The Please Take a Book! signs are working as people have actually taken books out of the basket, which is very brave. How tempting to take a snack, blanket, cushion and good book down to the park!
My Mum has Alzheimer’s. About a year ago I borrowed some Pictures to Share books that had just come into the library and took them to her thinking that she might like to have a look at them, although she hadn’t looked at a magazine or newspaper for months.
Straight away she wanted to hold the books and turn the pages and we spent a lovely half hour looking at the pictures. She read some of the words aloud and said something about nearly every picture. She really liked the garden book, especially the photos of birds, and she talked about the clothes people wore in some of the old photos and paintings. I enjoyed the books too, which are beautiful, and it was probably the best half hour I’d spent with Mum for a long time. My sisters and I bought her some of the books so we could share them with her more often.
Mum’s Alzheimer’s has got a lot worse since then and she recently moved into a care home but she still looks at the books and they help us enjoy our time with her, as well as giving her some simple, lovely things to look at.
This week is Dementia Awareness Week and lots of libraries are hosting events to support people with dementia and their carers. At Langley we have a display of the picture books, together with a few words about how I’ve shared them with Mum.
It’s easy to ignore books none of the library staff reads but Chick Lit is popular (and I’m a big fan of Bridget Jones!) so I thought it deserved a bit of promotion for a change. It’s an awful name for a genre and (as I’ve mentioned before) I hate the way books are marketed to men/women or girls/boys. I’m hoping the “chick” pun and the “spring” display will distract people from the “feminine” covers and perhaps encourage some men to try the books, but perhaps that’s wishful thinking? I copied the display idea from the Oakridge branch of Vancouver Public Library, but avoided the pink background.
This week the British Museum opens its newly refurbished gallery devoted to the Sutton Hoo treasure and Europe 300-1100 AD. The wonderful jewels and artefacts have been removed from their ill-lit, overcrowded display cases and visitors can now see them in their full glory. There’s even a re-branding exercise going on – the Dark Ages are now referred to as the early Middle Ages or the early medieval period, to make people realise that the Brits didn’t suddenly turn into Barbarians as soon as the Romans left!
You’re probably thinking that the average small public library has little in common with the mighty British Museum, but we do have our treasures and we’re not always very good at presenting and re-branding them. In Sandwell each library has a stock champion who meets the other champions regularly, to come up with and share new ideas for promoting our stock. Recently, Lilah (Langley’s champion) ordered all the old, out of print Marion Chesney books that had been lying in reserve stock for years and created an MC Beaton display. Beaton is the very popular author of the Agatha Raisin and Hamish MacBeth books, but originally she wrote under the name Marion Chesney (her earlier books are now being re-published but many are still only available as e-books). She has re-branded herself as an author and Lilah has unearthed these little treasures. Not quite the famous Sutton Hoo helmet, but an example of how we can offer something slightly different to people.
The Top 10 most borrowed children’s authors published by the UK Public Lending Right (PLR) contain few surprises. The top author is Daisy Meadows, the group of authors who write the Rainbow Magic series, helped by the sheer number of books they write. Roald Dahl is still going strong at number 7 and Enid Blyton is just outside the Top 10 at number 13 (she’s not popular in our library, despite my best efforts, so I was surprised to see her so high).
The list is a little out of date by the time it’s published, covering July 2012 to June 2013, so I’d expect David Walliams to be up there next year – his books are really popular and several adults have been borrowing them as well, having enjoyed the television adaptations over Christmas.
The list actually makes an attractive, colourful display in the children’s area but you wouldn’t know it from my dreadful photo, so apologies for that!
Luckily coinciding with some sunny weather at last, I chose gardening books for this month’s non-fiction display and I called it Spring Gardens, rather than Spring Gardening, to encourage armchair gardeners to pick up a book as well. We’ve had some gorgeous new gardening books come into stock recently so this is a good way to showcase them.