Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Short stories for the longest night


It's a Crime! Dec 4th, Antenna

Nottingham Writers' Studio, Five Leaves Publications and Weathervane Press present an evening of criminally good live literature.
On Wednesday 4th December - 7pm - at Antenna.
Michael Eaton on Charlie Peace
Ann Featherstone on Dando the Oyster-Eater
Michael RD Smith reading from his new novel The Deed Room
John Stuart Clark about being a Nottingham scrappie
Rod Madocks on couples who kill
plus short stories from Andrew Kells and Lisa Shipman

Bookstall provided by Five Leaves Bookshop

All welcome. £3 entry. Bar available.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Tom Harper - top crime-fic author visits Notts

Lowdham Festivals and Southwell Library present Tom Harper and Anthony Riches.

Thursday 28th November
Historical fiction authors Anthony Riches & Tom Harper discuss their new novels...
Anthony Riches: The Eagle’s Vengeance

The barbarian leader Calgus defies both his barbarian captors and Britannia's legions – and Marcus Aquila – once more in the sixth thrilling novel in the Empire sequence, praised by fellow-authors Conn Iggulden, Ben Kane and Manda Scott.

Tom Harper: The Orpheus Descent

Once Plato was a questing young man with a secret. He left behind a key, a tiny, burnished, golden tablet thrown away into a swamp that he never expected anyone to find. 2500 years later a young archaeologist stumbles on the greatest secret history the world has ever known…

Tickets: £6 full, £5 concessions, £4 Festival Friends

Taking place at 7.30pm at Southwell Library
The Bramley Centre
King St
NG25 0EH 0
01636 812148

Tickets from Southwell Library or The Bookcase, 50 Main Street, Lowdham, Notts NG14 7BE

   Call our Box Office: 0115 966 3219

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Notts Libraries, in crisis?


Notts County Council, facing budget cuts, is standing firm in its commitment to keep open all sixty of its libraries. There had been fears that the smaller, so called ‘Tier Three’ libraries, might be for the chop.

Phew, that’s good news then.

On that face of it, yes, but the authority is hoping to make huge saving with an innovative and controversial plan to preserve the smaller libraries through a community partnership approach.


They want to give libraries over to local communities, letting them take on the running. A one-off investment would be made, out of the library capital refurbishment programme. It would then be up to these groups to make it work.

Sounds like one of them a free schools. Here’s the budget, get on with it. Only, I bet they want the staff to work for free. Replace paid librarians with volunteers. Dave’s ‘big society’ again.

Here’s what John Knight, committee chairman for culture at the council, has to say: “We are having to look for increasingly creative and innovative ways to run our services. We are keen to work with communities to help provide the library services they want.”

Hmm. Might libraries be hijacked by those community groups with suspect motives, religious groups and the like?

It’s all about consultation right now, then restructure. They are approaching local groups to see who might want to take over. The best local solution will be awarded the one-off funding.

Free labour. So they think all them fogies that frequent the library will be lining up to help owt. But will they want to take jobs from the librarians they’ve become pally with. They might get a few offers, plus the odd student. I suppose they also see it as a way the unemployed folks can gain some work experience. Mind you, with all this ilk of volunteer you get a high turnaround of staff. Say goodbye to them ‘getting to know your librarian’ initiatives.     

I don’t know who will be training the staff or how it'll be funded. I assume that will have to come out of the initial funding, otherwise it could mount up if, as you suggest, the turnaround is high. They’ll want the staff to be just as informative and helpful as before.

But how can they be? Part-timers? And I suspect the stock will suffer as well. Maybe the council want these tier three places to fail, that way they can shut ‘em, saying they tried but there weren’t enough willpower within the community. They’ll cite the figures, and they don’t lie!

No, the council want the libraries to survive. They’re just looking at the best way to make this possible. It’s like when they introduced the machines, to facilitate the borrowing and returning of books, you can even pay your fines with them.  

Hah. They’re like those automated supermarket checkouts. You need human help. You know you can’t return a book from another library, it confuses the machine.

Well, they’re not replacing humans with machines this time, but the county council needs to save money. We are yet to hear the city council’s plans.  

That’s one way they could save dosh. Merge the two. Seems daft to me that the city and county have separate library services. Surely they could become one, cutting costs in the process? And why are they paying so much for books? Each service pays a premium for each book bought. If the county council want 20 copies of the latest best-seller, why are they paying the full RRP for them? Imagine how many copies the taxpayers are buying up and down the land. Surely the libraries can bulk the orders and bag a generous discount. They should be buying at £2 per book not £9.99.

I’m not sure what the initiative will mean for new purchases.   

Why are they even buying popular titles? I think most of these books should be donated to the libraries. Mind you, I’d charge punters 10p for each book taken out, excluding youngsters. That way authors could be paid a decent fee. The current PLR situation is a disgrace. Let the authors get what’s due. If they did, authors’d make sure that libraries were stocked with their books for nowt. They’d make a tidy profit over time, if they were paid fairly.

But should any new books be bought or authors paid more when frontline services are also being cut?

Libraries are knowledge providers. Be it fiction, non-fiction or use of the internet, libraries are access to information. Forget the media  - so much owned by so few – it’s libraries that are best placed to facilitate thought and imagination.

We’ll see what happens.