First Libraries Week celebrates the transformation of libraries across the UK

Libraries Week website banner.jpg
  • Over one thousand libraries running special #Librariesweek events
  • From the Great Storm to Storm Aileen with BBC Weather Watchers
  • First ever citywide Readathon in Liverpool with illustrator Sarah McIntyre
  • Joseph Coelho and Fiona Lumbers’ Luna Loves Library Day published by Andersen Press
  • National library award for impact and innovation presented by triple Kate Greenaway winner Chris Riddell

The very first Libraries Week takes over the UK this week (9 – 14 October) with a huge variety of creative activities for people to discover.

Over a thousand libraries will showcase different activities throughout the week. As well as reading-based activities, libraries are introducing people to coding, 3D printing and video making. They are running digital drop-ins and get-online sessions.

The campaign is led by CILIP, the library and information association and supported by libraries and partners across the UK.

Nick Poole, CILIP Chief Executive said:

"All over the UK, libraries are seeing a renaissance, transforming their services to meet the needs of a new digital generation. With 250m visits a year and 15-24 year olds more likely to use their local library than any other age group, Libraries Week is a chance to celebrate the innovative work going on across all types of library."

A number of partners have teamed up with the library network, including BBC Make It Digital who are marking the thirtieth anniversary of the Great Storm by encouraging people to get online at their local library, so they can sign up as Weather Watchers and post their weather photos.

All 325 of London’s public libraries will take part in Libraries Week, hosting a series of special free artistic events as part of a new London Libraries Festival, Worlds of Possibilities.

The winner of the 2017 CILIP Libraries Change Lives Award will be announced in London on October 12 by three time Kate Greenaway Medal winning illustrator and former Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell.

Illustrator Sarah McIntyre will take part in the first ever mass Readathon reaching 20,000 schoolchildren across Liverpool during the week. Andersen Press publish the first picture book authored by poet Joseph Coehlo on 5 October, Luna Loves Library Day, illustrated by Fiona Lumbers.

Joseph Coehlo said:

“Luna Loves Library Day is about the magic of libraries, the wonder of ink on paper, but also about their essential role in helping and aiding families, in being a safe space for everyone and anyone to learn and to discover and I truly believe that it is only through such spaces that we can support our children, shore-up our families and heal our communities. “

Libraries of all kinds in hospitals, schools, workplaces, government and universities will also take part in Libraries Week, helping more people to uncover their services and understand more about what they do.

Library facts

To mark the launch of Libraries Week we’ve put together thirteen surprising library facts.

  1. 250 million visits were made to public libraries in Great Britain last year. This is more than cinema and theatre visits, visits to the UK’s top ten tourist attractions and the number of people that went to live music gigs combined.

  2. Young people use the library more than anyone else. Across the British Isles 15-24 year olds more likely to use libraries than over 55s.

  3. Last year the most borrowed book was The Girl on the Train, the most borrowed author was US thriller writer James Patterson (his books have been lent more than 20 million times over the past ten years), the most borrowed illustrator was Tony Ross - best known for the Horrid Henry series, and the most borrowed non-fiction author was Mary Berry.

  4. 51% of us have a current library card and 47% have used a public library in the last twelve months.

  5. Three quarters of people in the UK and Ireland say that libraries are important to the community.

  6. Famous librarians include poet Philip Larkin, Chinese revolutionary and leader Mao Zedong, former First Lady Laura Bush, lover and author Cassanova, Sheffield indie band The Long Blondes and first Director of the FBI J Edgar Hoover.

  7. Established in 1452, the Maletestiana Library in the Italian city of Cesena is the world’s oldest surviving public library.

  8. Opened on 9 September 2017, the £9m Central Library and Archives in Halifax is the UK’s most recently opened public library.

  9. There was a 330% increase in the number of clubs teaching people to code run in public libraries between March 2016 and November 2016.

  10. The Public Lending Right, which pays authors for library loans of their work, distributed more than £6 million to over 22,000 authors last year.

  11. Libraries help people find information they can trust. In America eight out of ten adults feel that libraries help them find information that is trustworthy and reliable.

  12. Over 1.6 million visits were made to The Library of Birmingham in 2016, making it the UK's busiest public library.

  13. The British Library has over 720km of shelves which grows by 12km every year. It is one of the world's biggest libraries with over 150 million objects. They receive a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland.


Press contacts

Cat Cooper, Communications and Campaigns Manager, CILIP

020 7255 0653

Mark Taylor, Director of External Relations, CILIP

020 7255 0654

07792 635 305

About Libraries Week

Libraries Week is the annual the annual showcase of all the creative, innovative and diverse activities that UK libraries have to offer. The second week of October is a chance to discover the range of things you can do at your library, from play and learning, to managing your health, accessing technology, wifi and games, to finding a job, a hobby or starting a business.

Organised by CILIP, the library and information association, Libraries Week partners are Arts Council England, The Leadership for Libraries Taskforce, The Reading Agency, The School Library Association and the Society of Chief Librarians.


Twitter: @librariesweek #LibrariesWeek


About London Libraries Festival

Bringing together all of London’s libraries for the first Libraries Week, the Worlds of Possibilities festival will showcase the wider cultural impact that libraries have by delivering a multi-disciplinary set of free artistic activities in public libraries beginning a tradition of a London Libraries Festival during Libraries Week. The events will cover music, art, dance, poetry, drama and will involve performances from London’s Lead London Library Ambassador Jah Wobble, Viv Groskup, Jessica Hynes and others.

About Liverpool Readathon

Read for Good’s vision is for all children in the UK to be given the opportunity, space and motivation to develop their own love of reading, benefiting them throughout their lives – for good. Read for Good have joined forces with Liverpool Learning Partnership to run our Readathon across the whole city during Libraries Week (9-14 October 2017). We’re building a buzz about books in nurseries, schools and colleges by asking pupils to read what they love and helping us create a community of readers.

About BBC Weather Watchers

From the Great Storm to Storm Aileen: Working with libraries and Libraries Week, BBC encourages people to learn more about storms and how we model the weather, and to do so in their local libraries where they can get help getting online and getting digital.


About the CILIP Libraries Change Lives Award

Running for 25 years, the CILIP Libraries Change Lives Award is a national award for excellence and innovation in the UK library sector. Three public libraries in Suffolk, Kirklees, Glasgow and the prison library at HMP Norwich are shortlisted for 2017, driving integration and social cohesion and improving the health and life chances of individuals in their communities.

About Luna Loves Library Day

On 5 October, Andersen Press are publishing the first ever picture book authored by the poet Joseph Coelho: Luna Loves Library Day – illustrated by Fiona Lumbers. Luna loves library day: that's the day she spends with her dad. Exploring the shelves they find magic, mystery and even start to mend their own history. An inspiring story from one of the UK's greatest up-and-coming poets for children, captured in all its flights of fancy by newcomer Fiona Lumbers.


13 library facts sources