On July 8th the final Trafford Wordfest ‘Pages Ago’ event took place when Dr Kate Williams gave a talk at Urmston Library on her book BecomingQueen about the young Queen Victoria ( see review from The Independent by Lorraine Fletcher here) . Her description of the events of the family strife behind Victoria’s birth, childhood and accession to the throne was vivid and humorous.
George III produced 15 children who had 56 children of their own between them, not one of whom was legitimate. The Prince Regent’s unhappy marriage did produce an heir, Princess Charlotte of Wales , but her death giving birth to a still-born son in 1817 led to an unseemly dash among George III’s remaining children to produce an heir. This was won by Edward, Duke of Kent, the fourth son, who fathered the future Queen Victoria, but died less than a year later leaving the young heiress to be brought up in a strict and unhappy childhood.
This was an absolutely fascinating talk, very much enjoyed by its audience.
Penrith Library Assistant Rae Lusby says she has enjoyed putting together a display of history books with a Victorian and Edwardian theme, ready for the 'Vintage Penrith' festival at the end of the month. The library will be hosting several talks and a display of old photographs so we thought that it would be good to connect this to a Pages Ago display. She has initally displayed about 30 pairs of titles, but may have to put some more together depending on how well they issue. It was hard to include talking books and large print, but have managed one set of each and Rae says she will keep looking for more!
Rae had a beautiful a jacket dating from 1886 that belonged to her Great Grandmother and thought it would make a good focal point for the display and tie in well with the 'Vintage Penrith' theme, so this is on top of the display along with a photo of the family.
Time To Read particularly likes the way that Cumbria Libraries are literally tying together fiction and non-fiction titles, leaving readers no option but to take them together. The service has created a feedback form which goes out with the books, asking readers to tell us if they have read something out of the ordinary for them as a result of this. If they do, the displays will have been a big success.
The Radio Lancashire Book Club supported by the Blackburn with Darwen Library Authority, is currently reading The Red Necklace: a story of the French Revolution by Sally Gardner, to tie in with Pages Ago. Although ostensibly a teenage book, it can equally be enjoyed by adult readers - 'the drama moves from Paris to London and back, as the Revolution gathers momentum, and the hope of liberty and the dream of equality are crushed beneath the wheel of terror. Too many secrets, too many murders, and the blade of the guillotine is yet to fall .....'
Radio Lancs broadcasts across Lancashire and Blackpool as well as Blackburn, so other authorities may have some demand for the title. Some of our reading group members go along for the live broadcast and the discussion of The Red Necklace will be on Tuesday, July 20 from 11am - 1 pm so there is still time for readers/listeners to go along to their library for the book.
On 1st July Access Trafford Libraries were very pleased to welcome Anne O’Brien to Timperley Library to give a talk on her new historical novel as part of Trafford’s Wordfest and Pages Ago. Her book : ‘Virgin Widow: England’s Forgotten Queen’ is the story of Anne Neville, daughter of the Earl of Warwick (the ‘Kingmaker’). Caught up in the shifting fortunes of the Wars of the Roses, Anne was married first to Edward, the Lancastrian Prince of Wales, and then to the Yorkist Richard of Gloucester (later Richard III).
Anne O’Brien talked about her experiences as a writer – how she started out, getting an agent, as well as why she chose the subject for this novel. She gave background to the lives of women in powerful families at this time, and highlighted the careers of some particularly formidable ladies in the fifteenth century.
Anne is an excellent speaker, measured, informed and thoughtful, who provided our audience with an enjoyable and instructive event. We look forward to her next novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Warrington Libraries wanted to widen access to the Pages Ago promotion and bring in an Equality & Diversity dimension. So, working with an ESOL tutor, we set up a session at Warrington Central Library to look at our local studies photographs on Flickr. 4 women attended – 2 Indian and 2 Bangladeshi. The session focused on developing IT skills, speaking and listening skills, reading (through looking at comments posted) and writing (through search terms and posting comments). We also talked about library use and looked at some local history books with lots of illustrations.
They took back photos and history books to use as inspiration for writing in class and to read for pleasure. 3 of the women were already library members, but the fourth one joined. We are now looking at turning their favourite pictures and their comments into a book, which we will add into our Quick Reads section for future use by adult learners.
Another legacy outcome was an offer by one of the learners to take photos of her community eg festivals, dress, and give copies to us for our archives. She also offered to set up an event at which I could come along to talk about reading and the library with members of her community. We also got good feedback on what sort of books they’d like to see in the library.
The tutor was thrilled and all the women said they really enjoyed the session and learnt a lot. One said “ I’m going to go back and share everything I’ve learnt today with my community”.
Jane was the co-ordinator of Time To Read, a partnership of people working in public libraries in NW England, to develop the audience for reading.
She retired in August 2015 and is now very busy doing other things.