The first Libraries Week to take place in October 2017

By Cat Cooper,

Discover something new at your library, 9 – 14 October 2017.

CILIP, the UK’s library and information association, has today announced plans for the first Libraries Week, a week-long celebration of Britain’s much-loved libraries. Libraries will showcase the best they have to offer, encouraging people to discover what libraries can do for them on the week of October 9 to 14 2017.

Libraries Week, 9 – 14 October 2017, will replace National Libraries Day, previously held in February. The countdown to the inaugural Libraries Week will launch on Saturday 4 February 2017 and libraries with activity already planned for 4 February 2017 are encouraged to continue with their plans as the transition to a new date gets underway.

Nick Poole, CILIP CEO said: “Libraries Week is an opportunity to celebrate the very best that libraries have to offer across the UK. During the second week in October, we want to ensure that as many people as possible are inspired to visit a library, discover what’s on offer & encourage their friends & family to get involved.

“I am delighted that we have been able to respond to feedback from the library community by expanding from a single day to a week-long celebration of libraries, enabling us to include more partners and develop a really exciting programme for the public.

“CILIP and our national partners are committed to ensuring that Libraries Week receives widespread visibility and support. Whatever type of library you work in, we need you to join us and help ensure the success of Libraries Week.”

More details about Libraries Week will be announced in February along with a call for UK libraries to sign up and commit to planning, delivering and locally promoting high quality co-ordinated experiences during Libraries Week.

The event is open to all types of library, with public libraries encouraged to showcase their strongest services and activities across themes such as digital, creative, family, inspirational, health, employment collection-based or education. Libraries can also become supporters, helping to promote Libraries Week in their region or service. There will be support for libraries to get the most from Libraries Week.

CILIP is encouraging library providers and heads of service to begin planning for Libraries Week as a key marketing activity and to consider applying for funding or working with local schools, companies and community groups to promote their activities, bring in new audiences and run an exciting programme during the second week of October.

Vera and Shetland author Ann Cleeves is National Libraries Day ambassador

By Cat Cooper,

Ann Cleeves photograph (c) Micha Theiner
Ann Cleeves photograph (c) Micha Theiner

Ann Cleeves (c) Micha Theiner


Top crime writer Ann Cleeves, children’s publisher Andersen Press and a host of writers and artists will join local library communities for a week of special activities to mark National Libraries Day, Saturday 6 February and the week leading up to it.

Now in its fifth year, the annual celebration highlights the importance of libraries as vitally important public services which are loved by individuals and communities everywhere.

National Libraries Day ambassador for 2016, award-winning crime writer and creator of hit TV series Shetland and Vera, Ann Cleeves, said:

“Libraries matter. If we believe in equality of opportunity we must fight not just for the buildings but for the range of books inside and the skilled staff who can promote reading in all its forms. Not only do libraries encourage us to be more tolerant and better informed, they contribute enormously to the wealth of the nation.

If you’re not a member join on National Libraries Day. It’s easy and it’s free. If you are, go along and choose a title that you might not otherwise have picked. Share the excitement of everyone who’s greedy for reading. Help us to celebrate this wonderful institution.”

Special events taking place in libraries include talks by authors Erwin James, Bruce Fogle, Nicola Cornick, Tom McCarthy, Paul Gill, Simon Brett OBE; poet Roger McGough and prominent children’s author and illustrator Nick Sharratt; and a library residency by the artist Jackie Morris. Themed events covering topics from comics, art, history and local film to coding clubs, digital drop-ins and craft-making sessions are taking place up and down the country.

Celebrating four decades of working with libraries in its fortieth anniversary year, leading children’s publisher Andersen Press will open a special competition for public and school libraries on 6 February, based on David McKee’s much loved children’s book character, Elmer the patchwork elephant.

Elmer creator and National Libraries Day supporter David McKee said:

“From when she could first read until her death at 95, my mother was a passionate reader. She could never have afforded to buy even a small part of what she read. She depended on the library for advice and choice of book. There is a rich mass of literature that is our heritage. Thanks to the library, my mother was able to tap into that heritage and receive enormous pleasure and knowledge. That same possibility has to be available to everyone. Long live the libraries.”

Andersen Press founder and publisher Klaus Flugge said:

“Andersen Press has a long history of working closely with libraries and we value the important work done by our dear librarians. We want to continue to support the libraries in our 40th anniversary year and beyond!”

There are over 400 events published on the National Libraries Day map to date and last year nearly 700 events were held across the UK. Children and adults are invited to visit their local library and take part in celebratory events and to share pictures and messages on social media to illustrate the many ways that libraries are used, loved and valued in their communities.


Notes to editors

Press contact

Cat Cooper
Communications and Campaigns Manager, CILIP

Tel: 020 7255 0653
Mobile: 07867 455070

About Ann Cleeves

As well as being Ambassador for National Libraries Day, Cleeves has written a GALAXY® Quick Reads title, Too Good To Be True, which will be published 4th February and has been selected as one of the 2016 World Book Night titles.

With over a million copies sold worldwide and 29 novels published so far, Cleeves is one of Britain’s most successful crime fiction novelists. Her bestselling books are loved in print and on screen: both the Vera Stanhope and Shetland series are now major TV adaptations on ITV and BBC One respectively.

Series six of ITV’s drama series, Vera, starring Brenda Blethyn, is due to hit screens in February 2016 and episode three is an adaptation of The Moth Catcher. The Moth Catcher features the much-loved DCI Vera Stanhope, who has proved a refreshing change from the British tradition of male detectives and, in Vera, Cleeves has created a strong, female central character that continues to rival the likes of Sherlock and Morse.

Ann Cleeves was the chair of the 2015 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, during which Vera was voted the UK’s favourite fictional detective.

In 2015, Thin Air, was nominated for the Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and Cleeves was shortlisted for the prestigious Crime Writers Association Dagger in the Library award. In 2006, Cleeves’ novel, Raven Black, was awarded the Duncan Lawrie Dagger (CWA Gold Dagger) for Best Crime Novel, and in 2012, she was inducted into the CWA Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame.

About National Libraries Day

Saturday 6 February 2016 is National Libraries Day. It rounds off a week of special events and celebrations held in libraries up and down the country. Libraries in the UK are loved, valued and were visited an astonishing 265 million times last year! Show your support for libraries this National Libraries Day.

National Libraries Day is led by the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP), the Reading Agency, the Society of Chief Librarians and the School Library Association together with partners including Arts Council England, the Leadership for Libraries Taskforce and library supporters. It was originally called for by Alan Gibbons, children’s author and campaigner.

About the Andersen Press National Libraries Day competition

To celebrate National Libraries Day and the 40th anniversary of Andersen Press, the children’s publisher has teamed up with CILIP and The Reading Agency to invite libraries across the country to join in the #40years libraries competition!

Launching on National Libraries Day on 6 February, simply tweet a picture that you feel represents 40 years of loving books using the hashtags #40years and #librariesday to be in with a chance of winning one of five sets of furniture and books for your library worth over £1,500 each.

Each of the five winning libraries will win a complete set of Elmer furniture; set of stackable cushions, kinderbox, beancube, large rug, 2 x beanpods; plus the entire Andersen Press 2016 publishing list.

The competition will open on 6 February and close on 6 May and the five winners will be announced on Elmer Day, the 28 May.

A new hashtag for National Libraries Day 2016

By Cat Cooper,

Get ready for the fifth National Libraries Day, taking place Saturday 6 February 2016.

To support campaign publicity and to be clearer to those outside of the library sector what the campaign is about, the official NLD 2016 hashtag will be #librariesday. We would be very grateful if you could remember to use this rather than NLD16.

You can now add your events to the National Libraries Day 2016 event map – please see our how-to guide

Watch out for more National Libraries Day news coming soon.




Run a digital event with your local MP for Get Online Week

By Cat Cooper,

Get Online week logo
Get Online week logo

Get Online week logo

As part of this year’s Get Online Week, Tinder Foundation are encouraging libraries to sign up to run events to promote their great digital inclusion activity to their local MPs.

Get Online Week takes place from 12 – 18 October this year, and hundreds of libraries up and down the country will be running events that not only help local people get online, but also promote their great work to their local MP. Get Online Week can be a great way to raise the profile of your digital inclusion activity, show your MP just how great your library is, and build long term relationships that will support you library in the long term.

There is a great toolkit full of items to help you run your MP event, including a template invite letter, tips for running your event, and downloadable marketing materials. You can find them all at

You will also receive a hard copy marketing pack to help you promote your session if you register your event at

If you’ve got any questions, get in touch by emailing

Save the date! Join it, Use it, Love it on National Libraries Day 6 February 2016

By Cat Cooper,

nld-logo-templateNational Libraries Day will be back on Saturday 6 February 2016, celebrating libraries, library staff and their communities all over the UK.

This year’s campaign aims to get more public libraries involved than ever before, showcasing what libraries have to offer for all different needs and interests, with ideas to attract as many visitors as possible to local libraries on Saturday 6 February.

Nick Poole, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals said,

“Public libraries provide everyone with opportunities for learning and inspiration. They help people find work and set up their own business. Libraries are places where children and young people discover the joys of reading, learn new skills like coding and get help with their homework. They tackle social exclusion and isolation. They improve health and wellbeing and help people get online. Everyone is welcome and the space belongs to the public, which is increasingly rare in our communities.”

Thousands of people took part in over 700 events in libraries across the country for National Libraries Day 2015. Musician and songwriter John Lydon, Johnny Rotten, recorded a special message encouraging people to show their support for Britain’s libraries.

Primarily a celebration of public libraries, National Libraries Day is strongly supported by libraries of all kinds including school, university, workplace and government libraries and by organisations, politicians, public figures, celebrities, writers and illustrators and service users. National Libraries Day will be the finale of a week’s celebrations in all types of library.

Visit the National Libraries Day website for the latest news and help planning 2016 events and follow @NatLibrariesDay and #NLD16 on twitter


Press contact:

Cat Cooper, Communications and Campaigns Manager, CILIP

Tel: 020 7255 0653


Notes to editors

National Libraries Day is a grassroots campaign with leading charities, local authorities, library campaigners, library staff and community members involved. The steering group is made up of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), The Reading Agency, the School Library Association and the Society of Chief Librarians.

National Libraries Day 2016 takes place on Saturday 6 February 2016 and is the finale of a week of celebrations in school, college, university, workplace, public and all kinds of libraries across the UK from Monday 1 February.



Twitter: @NatLibrariesDay  #NLD16

John Lydon message for National Libraries Day 2015

Sleeping in the library goes legit


Sleeping in the library (By Flickr user Umjanedoan)

It’s not uncommon for the users of all kinds of libraries to catch 40 winks in some quiet corner or comfy chair, as any library worker will tell you.

In years gone by – and sometimes in the present – librarians were armed a stern-stounding set of regulations that expressly forbade sleeping and threatened the eyelid-heavy with instant eviction.

Sleeping in the library (By Flickr user Umjanedoan)

Library visitor
Boalt Hall Law Library, April 2007, 5th floor stacks. Released under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic by Flickr user Umjanedoan.

Succumbing to a snooze was, in the early days of public libraries, seen as almost as offensive a crime as defacing the stock or insulting the staff.

Nowadays, as long as the sleeper is not actually drunk, snoring, supposed to be in class or in apparent medical difficulty, they would probably be allowed to get away with at least a brief nap.

However, sleeping in the academic library is going properly mainstream – with the introduction of ‘sleeping pods’ for stressed students facing exams who have pulled all-nighters, or who need a time-out to refresh their overloaded brains.

[Insert the “Shhhh!” joke of your choice here.]

According to The Guardian, the library at the University of Manchester is the latest academic institution to install custom ‘sleeping pods’. The UEA, according to the same article, already has a ‘sleep room’ and the University of Michigan has been facilitating library napping since 2014.

The Manchester pods have a serious purpose – to examine how 20 minutes of sleep can boost brain power – and they come equipped with soft lighting and ambient music.

Read the Guardian article in full here.

In these days of funding challenges for all sectors, it is possible that we in the information professions have been seriously missing a trick.

The Churches Conservation Trust, a charity that works to preserve redundant churches, has introduced ‘champing’ – an amalgamation of church and camping that sees holidaymakers paying for the privilege of an overnight stay in a historic decommissioned church. This, it says, is part of the “slow tourism” movement.

Perfect! Could “slow tourism” possibly spread to libraries and make them the next must-do holiday trend?

Public libraries: ‘Invaluable contribution’ to children’s reading’


National Literacy Trust logo

Public libraries are making an ‘invaluable contribution’ to children’s reading according to two of the country’s largest reader development organisations.

National Literacy Trust logo

National Literacy Trust logo

The National Literacy Trust has recently published a report on children and young people’s reading habits that found more children than ever are reading for pleasure.

Its findings include:

  • Levels of reading enjoyment continue to improve: 54.4 per cent of children and young people enjoy reading either very much or quite a lot.
  • However, the gender gap is still an issue. 46.5 per cent of girls say that they read outside class on a daily basis compared with 35.8 per cent of boys.
  • There is more to do in raising awareness among parents of how important their engagement is to their children. 24.3 per cent of children thought their parents didn’t care if they read.
  • Initiatives promoted through public libraries, including Bookstart and the Summer Reading Challenge, are credited with helping create the momentum behind increased reading enjoyment.

The Reading Agency, commenting on the report, said: “Our evaluation of the Summer Reading Challenge 2014 shows just how important programmes like this are helping to buck [the gender gap] trend.

“Of the 839,622 children who took part in 2014, 44% were boys. A great result and one we hope will continue in 2015.”

Could libraries outlast the Internet?


Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, in March 2013

Libraries have a great future, according to the head of the UK’s national institution – arguably brighter than more recent inventions like the Internet.

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, in March 2013

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, in March 2013. By Miyagawa (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Roly Keating, director of the British Library since 2012, appeared at the Hay Festival recently to outline the institution’s plans for the future – and said he was surprised at how many “smart people” questioned whether libraries were still necessary.

He pointed to the values libraries have built up over centuries including trust, longevity, freedom of thought and speech, and a great track record in preserving knowledge.

He added: “They stand for private study in a social space; they are safe, they’re places of sanctuary and play a vital role in some of the poorest communities. And they are trusted.

“Our commercial partners in the information delivery space do wonderful things and we couldn’t live our lives without them.

“But the time frame we think on, centuries back and centuries into the future, allows us to think about trust in its highest sense, and authentication and provenance of information, and digital information in particular.

“Those are hard-won privileges and values and they’re worth defending.”

You can read The Daily Telegraph’s take on his talk here.

Q&A with Freya North: “Throughout my life, libraries have been a haven”

By Andy Darley,

Freya North. Photo by Charlotte Murphy.

A passionate reader since childhood, Freya North is the award-winning author of 14 best-selling novels, the most recent of which – The Turning Point – was published this summer. She was born in London but now lives in rural Hertfordshire with her family where she set up, and now runs, the Hertford Children’s Book Festival. She is an ambassador for Beating Bowel Cancer and a judge for the CPRE Rural England Awards. A long-time advocate for – and user of – libraries, she can often be found with her laptop in a quiet corner of her local branch, recording the latest adventures of her characters.

Freya North. Photo by Charlotte Murphy.

Freya North. Photo by Charlotte Murphy.

You’ve often spoken of the importance of libraries, you’re well-known for writing large parts your novels in public libraries and you performed the opening ceremonies at both York Library Learning Centre and Essendon Primary School Library. What do libraries mean to you and why are they important?

Libraries are essential for me as I like to research from books more than online – and I will always associate libraries as being a treasure trove of books themselves. Also, I always kickstart my novels by writing from my local library – they’d take twice as long if I were to try to achieve the same amount and quality of work at home!

Throughout my life, as a lover of books, libraries have been a haven for me – whether as a child, a teenager seeking out books my Mum might not have approved of, a student studying to Masters level, an unpublished writer, a published novelist – and of course a mother.

I don’t really like this whole need to ‘rebrand’ libraries as ‘information hubs’ or whatever. A library is a library – be proud about that and shh! be quiet and no eating!

Which library services do you use?

Books, books and more books – I don’t go online in the library, I go there to escape from the digital age. Fiction, non-fiction, maps, travel guides and photography books pertaining to my chosen subjects – invariably I find what I need and, if I can’t find it, I ask.

Although your own fiction is for adults, The Turning Point is about a children’s author and you co-organise the Hertford Children’s Book Festival. Why is literacy so important for children, and where do libraries fit into that?

In this fast-moving digital age, where children are quite literally enslaved to their phones, games consoles, TV, computer and seduced by the quick-click gratification this offers, there’s never been a more important time to instil this ability in the next generation – as well as a love of the book as a format for entertainment and for discovering the infinite world created by generations of authors.

Tell us a bit about the festival – it’s happening in October, yes?

Yes: now in its fourth year, the Hertford Children’s Book Festival will run from 1st-7th October. Do visit our website Hertford Children’s Book Festival.

North's most recent novels

The Turning Point, released this summer, and The Way Back Home, just out in paperback

Following your move out of London you became a judge in the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England’s ‘Rural Living Awards’. The countryside can be a very isolated place for people such as the elderly or lone parents. Can libraries help counter that?

Very much so – even if just to read the newspaper, a magazine, pass the time of day and have a sit-down in a familiar atmosphere. That’s why I object to the need to rebrand libraries – it’s as if they are having to apologise or justify what they are. I like a library to feel to me now as it felt to me when I was a child – a magical place of hush where the walls groan with portals into parallel worlds.

Finally, you are an ambassador for Beating Bowl Cancer following the loss of a friend. With illnesses such as that, quick access to accurate information is so important – but not everyone has the internet. A role for libraries again, surely?

One would hope so – perhaps doctors’ surgeries and local health trusts could work more closely to provide libraries with health-based printed matter. Beating Bowel Cancer produce a range of fundamentally important Beating Bowel Cancer information leaflets.

Photo gallery

Photos 1-4 courtesy of Freya North, 5-6 taken by Andy Darley.