The Readers’ Day, presented by The Reader Organisation and Liverpool Libraries, centred around three open audience events – a conversation with Frank Cottrell-Boyce and a conversation with Beryl Bainbridge led respectively by Jane Davis, as well as a very lively session when our two celebrated Liverpool authors conversed with each other about how their own experiences and memories of their home city may have influenced their writing in different ways and at different levels.
The day’s programme also included two lots of workshops. In the morning, readers had the choice to read and discuss Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s thought-provoking short story ‘Accelerate’, enjoy a discussion group on poems about work during the twentieth century, or participate in a reading session which took as its theme no other than the popular series Mersey Minis. In the afternoon, the range of choice remained just as diverse and exciting, with workshops being offered on the stories of city seafarers (a session led by no other than Frank senior), a reading group where people were asked to bring along with them poems that they would like to have with then if they were to fall victims to that unfortunate fate of being shipwrecked, and last but by no means least, the Readers’ Surgery, with Jane Davis, Angie Macmillan, the poet Rebecca Goss, and myself all trying to provide searching readers with a poem or a novel that would on some level act as a response to their particular needs or interests.
I was very pleased to see several of our Get Into Reading members on the day and all very keen to take the opportunity to relax and enjoy themselves. One of the most positive things that resulted from the day was that it has clearly made more people aware of Central Library and also encouraged more people to come into this vast public space. At the end of the day, one lady came up to me and said, ‘Do you know, I’m ashamed to say this, but I’ve never been in this library before – I never even knew it existed! And isn’t it lovely! I will be coming back here again – not just to borrow books mind you, but because I want to be able to walk round this room again (the Picton Library) – it really is beautiful!’
So once again, The Reader Organisation provides local people with a thoroughly enjoyably literary event that is relaxed and inclusive, informal and uplifting. Let’s hope that we can hold more of them at Central Library in future!
Posted by Clare Williams