Library Day in the Life: Day Two

Today was a horribly early start to get from London back up to Glasgow, but the four and a half hour train journey meant I got to finish off Cory Doctorow’s brilliant Little Brother, which I read in print, but you can download under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license from here.

I presented at the BOBCATSSS Conference in Amsterdam last week (blog post forthcoming!), and a lot of privacy and data security issues were raised in other sessions there that caught my interest, so I’m really glad I read this because it’s a good (and genuinely riveting) introduction to some really important themes that I don’t know half enough about.

The rest of it looked mostly like this, just in my bedroom rather than the library:

I’m trying to find a hook for my research topic, but the more I read, the more lost I get. I’m hoping to tie something down a bit more over the next couple of weeks. My supervisor recommended this book because he thinks it might be a good idea for me to ground my research in a critical theory (here’s a link to the introduction in Google Books for the interested…). My reading for the rest of the week is going to include Giddens, Giroux, Gramsci, Habermas and Mouffe. And then I think my brain might melt.

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Back from the Field

Fret no longer, dear readers (hah!). I have returned safely from the wilds of Powys.

It’s a busy week so I don’t have the time I’d like to write about all the people I met and the things we talked about, but highlights include:

  • Hearing people’s library stories and talking to people about why libraries are so important to them. It’s easy to include things in talks and tell journalists about why I think libraries are important and use the content already on the Voices site that’s largely been submitted by email as evidence, but the stories we collected at Hay serve as a timely reminder for me that these are real issues that affect real people in a diverse range of situations in a million different ways.

  • Ellis, a wise four-year-old, when asked by his mum what they should do to stop their library closing: “Shall we kill them, mummy?” Well, Ellis, as a last resort…

  • Sleb spotting, notably: Sue Perkins, Sandy Toksvig and John Waters (of “If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ’em!” fame).
  • Gushing at Meg Rosoff having spent two evenings of tent-reading immersed in her fantastic book How I Live Now. Her talk was great and she is totally badass. I gave her a ‘keep libraries open’ badge. She put it on straight away. Love.
  • Listening to Prof. David Crystal talk about idioms in the English language that were perpetuated or introduced through the King James translation of the Bible (257 of them, for those interested).

  • Being a Proper Camper and All Round Woman of Action and putting up a tent (ahum, with some help with the tricky bits from Simon, thank you Simon), living in it for over a week in relative comfort  and actually really enjoying it.

  • Learning how to read again. I haven’t read a full novel in longer than I’d like to admit because I’ve been spending so much time encouraging other people to read and use libraries and being a massive hypocrite. I was horribly out of practice in terms of actually sitting down and concentrating on something other than a computer screen. So, I read:- Meg Rosoff, How I Live Now
    – Mike Gayle, Dinner for Two
    – Carl Hiaasen, Skin Tight
    – Jan Mark, Something in the Air

    They’re not exactly the highest browed, but they were all picked up out of the Travelling Suitcase Library except for HILN which was borrowed from my good friend and festival-buddy Nat. Who is mischief (see below…)

  • A lovely week topped off with a cheeky trip to Oxford to spend some time with the most excellent Patrick.

Wrapped Up In Books

It’s a right week for books next week!

When I decided  to get involved with World Book Night, I automatically assumed that it was part of Book Aid International’s World Book Day – well, you would, wouldn’t you?! It turns out they’re not, or at least, weren’t. Now though, they’re both helping to put on an event in Southwark (celebrations start at 5pm and close at 10pm at John Harvard Library, Borough High Street, South London SE1 1JA). Ace.

World Book Day – 3rd March

Here’s a little bit about World Book Day because I’ve not mentioned it properly yet. From a lovely lady called Natasha at Book Aid:

“It is opportunity for people to celebrate the education, imagination and information that books provide us all with. There are a whole host of events and activities you can get involved with, whatever your age. They include Meet Talk Give, a fun, easy fundraising activity for reading groups and libraries – as well as initiatives for toddlers and school age children.

Book Aid International is one of the charities that benefits from the day, and it enables them to make a massive difference. They depend on the support of people like you to bring books, and all that they represent, to communities in sub-Saharan Africa and the Occupied Territories of Palestine.”

I’ll be in Edinburgh on 3rd and 4th March at Edge 2011, so won’t be able to take part, but if you can, it sounds well worth it. And make the most of the World Book Day Tokens!

World Book Night –  5th March

There’s been some talk about WBN, what it’s about and potential issues. But I’m sticking with it, and will be in one of my favourite beery establishments, Arcadia in Headingley, from about 8:30pm, with the awesome BookElfLeeds and her Travelling Suitcase Library (so excited about meeting her!) – I think it’s a great opportunity to encourage people to get reading and use libraries. As well as the 40-odd copies of Love in the Time of Cholera, I’ll also be bringing a pile of my own books, and seeing as I’m moving house that day, I think I’d better pack up a little box specifically for swapping!

World Book Night

Happy February! Hopefully it’ll be less grim than January. One of the things cheering me up this morning is an email I got from World Book Night, letting me know that my application to be a book giver was successful.

On 5th March I’ll be giving out 48 copies of Love in the time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, which I’m really pleased about because it’s one of my absolute favourites (most of the others on my imaginary list of favourites are also by GGM…). So, I’ve got to get my thinking cap on about where and how I’m going to spread the magic realism love.

About World Book Night

World Book Night represents the most ambitious and far-reaching celebration of adult books and reading ever attempted in the UK and Ireland.

On Saturday, 5 March 2011, two days after World Book Day, with the full support of the Publishers Association, the Booksellers Association, the Independent Publishers Guild, the Reading Agency with libraries, World Book Day, the BBC and RTE, one million books will be given away by an army of passionate readers to members of the public across the UK and Ireland.

The book give-away will comprise 40,000 copies of each of the 25 carefully selected titles, to be given away by 20,000 ‘givers’, who will each distribute 48 copies of their chosen title to whomever they choose on World Book Night. The remaining books will be distributed by World Book Night itself in places that might otherwise be difficult to reach, such as prisons and hospitals.