Posted by: billpurdue | June 13, 2011

Saving Libraries

I haven’t mentioned libraries much recently, so it’s pleasing to report that the new children’s laureate, Julia Donaldson, is going to make support for public libraries one of the key areas which she is going to concentrate on during the two years in which she holds the position. The author of The Gruffalo [Macmillan Children’s £6.99 978-0333710937] has announced that she will soon be visiting Whithorn library in Galloway (lovely part of the world) which is under threat of closure, like many others all over the country.

 

A former children’s laureate, Michael Rosen has said that he would like every child of school age in the country to be issued with their own library card.  He was arguing for more action to help children to have access to books and literature: the new campaign by the Evening Standard for volunteer reading help, he believes, “could shift the focus away from universal provision for literacy support” according to a report on the Bookseller website

 

The National Federation of Women’s Institutes is to campaign against library closures after a vote at their AGM in Liverpool. You can read the address to the NFWI by Annie Mauger, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP, formerly the Library Association) on the CILIP website

http://www.cilip.org.uk/news-media/Documents/Annie_Mauger_WI_speech_080611.pdf

Meanwhile campaigners trying to save libraries in Gloucestershire took a trip down to London recently to discuss the matter with officials of the Dept for Culture Media and Sport, but got nowhere. They have been told that they will have to pay the £30,000 legal fees for the judicial review of the county council’s plans for the libraries. Now they are trying to recoup the cost of the travel expenses for the fruitless trip to London by attempting to invoice the DCMS. It’s no surprise that they are getting nowhere with that one, but I don’t blame them for trying.  The department deserves all the hassle it gets.

 

Help!

Back to books now and this subheading isn’t a desperate plea for assistance from me, it’s the title of a new book by Oliver Burkeman (author of This Column will Change your Life). The subtitle of the book is “how to become slightly happier and get a bit more done” [Canongate £12.99 9780857860255]. In this collection of columns for The Guardian, Burkeman takes a common sense look at many of the books and websites which advocate ways of making vast improvements to your life. He takes a gentle sideswipe at some of the hundreds of self improvement books which have been published over the years, from Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People from the 1930s to Anthony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant Within (2001). He picks out the titbits of advice which he thinks could help us to make modest improvements to our lives. To read Oliver Burkeman’s blog, go to http://www.oliverburkeman.com/

 

As it’s a collection of articles, this book doesn’t need to be read from start to finish, but that’s what I did , because I was really fascinated. He doesn’t dish out lots of advice, but the nuggets of useful information, which he has extracted from all the mumbo jumbo in a wide range of self help literature, along with the smattering of humorous touches, made me want to read more.

One of the pieces in the book is about why life seems to go by quicker the older we get. He suggests that this is because, as we grow older, we become familiar with all the routines which we go through every day and the routes we travel : on a journey, coming back always seems quicker than going, unless perhaps you take a different route back. Little things sometimes make a big difference, so I would recommend this book. You may find something in it that might not change your life, but could possibly help you to make small improvements and that’s all the book claims to do.

 

I’m reading: The Smythson Circle: the story of six great English houses by David N Durant. The houses in question include Hardwick Hall (old and new) and Bolsover Castle

 

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