A great start for Libraries Week

Coding photo & libraries week banner

The first UK wide Libraries Week took place from 9-14 October 2017. Save the date, because everybody’s favourite week will return from 8-13 October 2018!

We got off to a really strong start to the new October Libraries Week.  It was a thrill to watch #librariesweek trending as the social media posts piled in. It was just a sliver of the activity that thrives in libraries all year round, but felt like a real bump of support with names like British Museum, Gillian Andersen, Letters Live, Department for Education, DCMS among others tweeting about libraries.

Our aim is for the second week of October to become the annual showcase of all the creative, innovative and diverse activities that UK libraries have to offer. Led by CILIP, fuelled by the library network and a supported by teams of partners and supporters, we see Libraries Week as one of our biggest opportunities to show off everything that is great about libraries. 

It’s only year one and there is much more we can do to build on Libraries Week for 2018 and beyond. Read on for our top Libraries Week discoveries, and if you took part, we’d love to get your feedback. You can complete our online evaluation form or just send us an email.

Facts matter

People outside our sector are responding to simple but powerful facts and figures about library use, such as how many visitors per year, who visits libraries and what they mean to communities. 

Carnegie UK Trust’s figures showing that young people are increasingly high users of libraries has interested figures from across the political parties and is helping to shift perceptions about the appeal of libraries in the current climate. 

We need more and better data but we can all help to share and make good use of useful data that has been published to help people build a truer, more representative picture of libraries and their place in UK life.

                                         Library Facts banner png


We do more in partnership

Libraries Week was supported by a range of partners working together to increase visibility and participation. As well as strong support from our core partners Arts Council England, the Libraries Taskforce, The Reading Agency, the School Library Association and Society of Chief Librarians we welcomed new content partners BBC Make it Digital and Andersen Press.

See the poster, leaflet and guidance material produced by BBC Make it Digital which can be used to help library users get online and join ‘the nation’s favourite conversation’ as weather watchers. 

Joseph Coehlo, Fiona Lumbers and Andersen Press marked Libraries Week with these special posters, graphics and activity sheets based on their new book ‘Luna Loves Library Day’- and if you haven’t already, check out Joe’s blog post about the magic of libraries.

Thanks to Carnegie UK Trust and The British Library whose interesting facts and statistics we were able to share - and for sharing Libraries Week with their communities. 

We hope to welcome more partners in 2018 and we will be working with BBC Make it Digital to link Libraries Week to year-round activities.


                                    BBC stormwatchers for libraries week banner


We’re proud to have a bilingual Libraries Week

Working with CILIP in Wales and Welsh Government’s Museums, Archives and Libraries team we were able to provide Welsh language assets and materials; and to talk to press - in both languages - about all the brilliant stuff that happens in Welsh libraries. 

First stop Cardiff Central Library on Monday 9 where comedian and Welsh Libraries Week ambassador Elis James chatted with Daniel Glyn.  Later on Elis met CILIP CEO Nick Poole and they recorded this broadcast for Made in Cardiff TV as well as their own Libraries Week welcome messages.


Photo of NIck Poole and Elis James at Cardiff Central Library


The Western Mail newspaper published print pieces from author Giancarlo Gemin and Elis in the lead-up to Libraries Week and on BBC Radio Cymru, Shan Cothi spoke to librarians from different sectors each morning from 9-13 October:

CILIP Cymru Wales published a series of 'A Day in the Life' blog posts for Libraries Week detailing a day in the life of librarians and information professionals in Wales. They delve into the workloads of health, university, public librarians and information professionals supporting their communities and institutions.

Topping off a very busy week in Wales, Ken Skates, Welsh Assembly Member for Clwyd South and Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure dropped into his library in Wrexham and recorded this video  – you can also watch it with Welsh subtitles.

It’s great to have visible support for libraries from Welsh Government both helping deliver the campaign in Wales and reflected with pride here on the Welsh Libraries homepage.

We’ll have it all - from art and the A14 to worlds of possibilities

Well done to all involved in bringing together an entire festival of libraries here in London as part of Libraries Week! Worlds of Possibilities, The London Libraries Festival brought together all 325 of London’s public libraries to celebrate the wider cultural impact of libraries with a series of free artistic activities covering music, art, dance, poetry and drama. This piece in The Big Issue tells you more about it.

On October 11 illustrator and library fan Sarah McIntyre joined Liverpool schools at the midway point of the first city-wide Readathon, and took in visits to a school, a breakfast club and Liverpool Central Library.  You can read all about Sarah’s involvement and find some great pictures here


Readathon image


Thursday of Libraries Week Joseph Coehlo joined a packed Storytime at Ideas Store Canary Wharf and later dropped into Pimlico Library in the afternoon where Libraries Minister John Glen and a host of others came out in support of libraries and the London Libraries Festival. The organisers did some recording with authors, illustrators, musicians and creatives about so watch out for that coming soon. Also on 12 October, author Liz Pichon, Scholastic and Horsenden Primary School broke the Guinness World Record for the Largest Disco Dance! And a big hello to librarian Daisy Johnson for bringing the spirit of librarianship to the roadside as the A14 writer in residence.

Through the campaign we want to get the message in front of new audiences. On Monday 9 October Nick Poole CILIP CEO and our Libraries Change Lives Award finalists talked to Voice of Islam Radio [57:30]. We learned more about the links between libraries and the artist community with the launch of File Under Female, a celebration of archived women's art supported by the library sector. If you would like to learn more, you can watch the recorded live stream of the symposium from Chesterfield Library on Friday evening 27 October. 

A great week to honour outstanding library contributors

On 11 October, the supremely talented illustrator and political cartoonist , former Children’s Laureate and triple Kate Greenaway Medal winner Chris Riddell became an Honorary Fellow of CILIP - the highest recognition given to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the library and information world. He is in good company alongside his fellow 2017 Honorary Fellows and a roll-call of famous past recipients of the honour.

Chris also presented the 2017 Libraries Change Lives Award to HMP Norwich library, for their service which is helping 'forgotten' older prisoners suffering from dementia and memory loss...Almost as good as winning – we witnessed pure joy in the form of Chris sketching Libraries Change Lives finalists, Amy Hearn and Tiffany Haigh from Kirklees Libraries! 

Head over to the CILIP Flickr to see pictures of all the action from the presentation of achievement on October 11.


                                                Chris Riddell Libraries Week photo by Rolf Marriott


We're working hard to win political support

Working with the Libraries All Party Parliamentary Group and the library teams at House of Commons and House of Lords libraries and CILIP Wales we sent briefings to MPs, Peers and Welsh AMs urging them to take part either at Westminster or in their own constituencies.  

Special thanks to Gill Furniss MP and her team for sending out a personalised follow-up as Chair of the APPG backing up our message. 

We were pleased to see some political figures turning out to support Libraries Week in person or online. Here are supporters we’ve noted and if we’ve missed anyone, please let us know so we can add them!

We look forward to 2018!

Over 1000 libraries participated this year and it’s clear from social media and the many pages of local and specialist media coverage how hard everyone has worked to help new audiences discover their library this October. Thanks to everyone who participated to make it a great Libraries Week and if you haven’t heard enough yet, check out this blog from the Libraries Taskforce and a storify of tweets by CILIP PMLG.

The next Libraries Week will take place from 8-13 October 2018. Collectively we have the power to show that libraries are where it’s at in terms of hitting people’s interests, providing environments that people enjoy spending time in and being downright amazing places that everyone would want to go to!

We’re really keen to hear your experiences and feedback on Libraries Week. Complete our online evaluation or email us with your comments.

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