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National Libraries Day 2012

The UK’s biggest celebration of libraries, librarians and reading is to take place on 4 February 2012.

National Libraries Day will take place on 4 February 2012 and the Society of Authors is proud to support it. It will be the finale to a week of events that will celebrate libraries and librarians, and highlight the importance of reading.

The day is a celebration of the work done in school, college, university, workplace and public libraries to promote learning, literacy and the enjoyment of reading to all. It is supported by a range of twenty-five organisations including the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals, the Reading Agency, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, library campaigners and publishers.

  • Click here to view NLD events involving members of the Society of Authors.

Library users new and old are being encouraged to go along to their local library and find out about the great services on offer – from book loans and homework clubs to advice on starting a business and how to get online. Regular users are being asked to bring a friend and give them the chance to speak to library staff and find out exactly what services are available locally.

National Libraries Day is a great reason to visit the library – whether it’s for the first time or you go every week. The aim is for as many people as possible to discover something new about their local library and sign up for some of the great opportunities on offer. Even if people can’t make it to their library, they can still get access to a range of services through library websites.

To celebrate National Libraries Day twenty-three of our most outstanding writers have contributed to The Library Book, published by Profile Books in aid of The Reading Agency’s library programmes. The authors describe libraries real or imagined, past, present, and future - why they matter and to whom. They include Julian Barnes, Alan Bennett, Stephen Fry, Lucy Mangan, Val McDermid, Caitlin Moran, Kate Mosse, Zadie Smith and Nicky Wire from the Manic Street Preachers.

Kate Mosse said,

“The brick and glass presence of libraries at the heart of our towns and cities gives the unequivocal message that books matter, that imagination matters, that the principles of free and fair access to literature and education to all matter. The most democratic of spaces, libraries are places where anyone - regardless of age or sex or background, their ambitions and opportunities (or lack of them) - is welcome and on an equal basis and for free. Libraries are home to the readers of today and the writers of tomorrow”

Lucy Mangan recalled her childhood experience of libraries,

“I thought my dad was having me on when I was six or seven and he told me he was taking me to a building full of free books that I could take home, read and then return and swap them for more, forever. We trotted along the road - libraries need to be local so that paying a visit feels as natural and easy as popping to the shops, not like a big, extra effort to be confined to the occasional day when you have the time - and it turned out he was telling the truth. It seemed like a miracle and it still does.”

Alan Gibbons, children’s author and campaigner, originally called for National Libraries Day to take place, he said:

“The ability to read is at the heart of being a civilised human being. Research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of our social and academic success, even more important than our social class. Your local library is the place you can choose a book, use a computer, find out about local history, do research, attend literary events, access community facilities and so much more. Now here's the thing, it is free to use. Libraries and librarians make a huge difference.
National Literacy Trust research found that that a child who goes to a library is twice as likely to read well as one who does not. So what are you doing on Saturday, 4th February and the week leading up to it? Can you hold a story telling, a read-in, a poetry session, hold a talk about the history of your town? Could you have a party to celebrate reading? Pop down to your local library. Make sure you use it, love it, join it.”

From the Guille-Allès Library in Guernsey to Orkney Library, events are taking place across the country. In London at Canning Town Library on Saturday 4 February library users will be able to hear stories and songs from the Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson. The event starts at 2pm and free tickets can be booked through the library.

In Leicestershire, visitors to public libraries will be able to hire a DVD, CD or audio book for free. At Blackpool’s newly refurbished Central Library Carol Birch, 2011 Man Booker prize shortlisted author, will be speaking, and TV Book Club’s Matt Haig will be at Newcastle’s new city library. In Filey, North Yorkshire, Chinese New Year dragon-themed activities will be taking place with a treasure hunt and library quiz. The RNIB National Library Service will be running free ebook taster sessions for blind and partially sighted people at Stockport.

You can follow National Libraries Day on Twitter @NatLibrariesDay and on Facebook.

Related links

Read the SoA submission to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry into library closures



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