Celebrating Shared Reading at Birkenhead Central Library

On Saturday 18th August, Birkenhead Central Library celebrated a successful year of reading as one of the libraries in Wirral to work in close partnership with The Reader Organisation by holding an afternoon party. As you’d expect, there was lots of cake – and lots of shared reading to enjoy. Telling us more about the day is Get Into Reading Wirral Project Worker Helen Wilson:

It isn’t a Reader Party without lots of reading

August 2012 marks the first anniversary of The Reader Organisation working in closer partnership with Wirral Libraries. Over the past year, The Reader Organisation and the library service have been forging stronger bonds, with Project Workers taking up Reader-in-Residence posts at four branches on the peninsula: Beechwood, Birkenhead Central, Eastham and Seacombe. Library staff have been indispensable in helping set up and sustain these new groups; chasing down copies of various books, issuing indefinite loans, running groups, hosting events, keeping the public up to date with our activities and so much more. For our part, we have been able to keep Get Into Reading members from other settings in touch with all the libraries have to offer, particularly as new and exciting partnerships get underway within the service.

Twenty three Get Into Reading groups now operate from Wirral Libraries alone and we’re seeing great results from our combined efforts: membership is growing all the time, there is a greater use of the library service among members and more people than ever are enjoying great literature, together. As one library group member put it: “If you told me this time last year ‘you’ll be reading poems and enjoying it’ I would have said ‘Stop talking crap!’ But I love the poems now!”

So, last Saturday saw faces old and new join forces to celebrate at beautiful Birkenhead Central Library. We managed to demolish countless cream scones, along with some delicious offerings from our reading group members. Feeling suitably stuffed, we sat down to enjoy some kind words from Principal Librarian and Get Into Reading friend, Julie Barkway, before hearing a selection of group members’ favourite poems. Among the readings was the British-summer appropriate, Sudden Shower by John Clare, Rudyard Kipling’s ever popular If and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s heart felt How Do I Love Thee (followed less romantically by a more modern take on the old classic, ‘How Do I Dump Thee’), to name but a few. A raffle rounded things off nicely, with prizes taken from a selection of TRO’s most recent publications, including our brand new collection of shorts stories and poems, A Little, Aloud for Children.

Special thanks goes not only to library staff for their efforts in the run up and throughout the event, but also to our four volunteers – Vinny, Zoe, Andrew and Ellie – for giving up their Saturday afternoon in order to come along and lend a much needed hand. Led by our ever capable Wirral Apprentice, Eamee, the team ensured we were ready on time, everyone was made to feel welcome, the cake didn’t run out and the tea never ran dry. And last but not least thank you to all our members who showed up to make it such a lively and lovely afternoon!

A full list of all Get Into Reading groups is available via our website and you can find out more about your local library here, as well as what’s going at Wirral Libraries here.

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