Archive for October, 2010


Northern Children’s Book Festival

Saturday 20 November at Mortimer Community College, South Shields.

The theme of this year’s Northern Children’s Book Festival Gala Day is ‘Out of This World’! Children’s authors and illustrators will be on hand to share the secret of how they brought their fantastic creations to life.

Activities include building time machines or getting creative in one of the many other arts and crafts sessions. ”Get swept away on an original adventure with a master storyteller, bounce away on our indoor trampoline, then unleash your artistic side on our virtual graffiti wall.”

There will also be plenty of information available at stalls hosted by Bag Books, Seven Stories, South Shields Museum, Clear Vision Project, RNIB, NBCS, Calibre, Signed Stories and Signs for Success.

For more information and details of how to book please see the NCBF Gala Day leaflet, the NCBF website or phone 0191 4247885.


A busy month on the ARL team

Welcome the second blog entry from the Adult Reading and Learning team – I can’t believe it has been a month already which proves our team has been extremely busy!

To kick off we have selected Iain M Banks as October’s author of the month.  We have chosen this author for all our science fiction fanatics, including the one on our team who has worked very hard in refreshing titles and changing the look of the stock area. Iain M Banks has written several titles which include ‘Algebraist’, ‘Excession’ and ‘Matter’ which you can reserve online.

We have recently had a visit from Katrina Porteous.  Some of you may know that Katrina is a poet and historian living on the Northumberland coast.  Her publications include; ‘The Lost Music’, ‘The Wund an’ the Wetter’ and ‘The Blue Lonnen’. The poetry readings demonstrated local dialect, local history and personal knowledge regarding the coastal areas. As part of the audience I could feel the passion and enthusiasm Katrina has for her work.  I’m sure the rest of the audience would support me in saying how enjoyable and entertaining the event was especially when we all had to take part and chant our own verse to compliment a reading.  You can book now (phone 0191 2774100 or email for Katrina’s session on Saturday 6 November as part of our book festival!  Which leads me onto…

Books on Tyne! A lot of behind the scenes planning has taken place for the Newcastle Libraries very first book festival as mentioned in our last blog entry.  We were thrilled to find out that our hard work had been rewarded recently with the success of a funding bid with ‘The National Lottery through Arts Council’.  This funding has enabled payments to authors and artists involved, the production of publicity materials and staff support.
With the added support of Newcastle College, we can now provide British Sign Language interpreters to a number of sessions held in the Bewick Hall, which is something we have been aiming to do for a long time.  We are taking bookings now for individual events but you will have to be quick as tickets are in high demand and places limited. See the Books on Tyne post for more information.

Earlier in the month National Customer Service Week  saw the launch of our new area for visually impaired customers.  Staff gave away free magnifying sheets along with a free large print newspaper and the chance to win £50 of Eldon Square vouchers.  We informed VIP customers of local history by ‘Touching the Past’ whichincluded recordings from our website, handling old books and listening to snippets of local history.  A big thank you to all our customers who visited enrolled and passed on their valuable positive comments to staff and thanks to Doug from the VIP Reading Group who very kindly posed with the equipment for publicity photos.

Another area we have been discussing is the World Language stock.  This month I met up with our Friends of the Persian Library group to discuss the collection with the aim of improving access and selection of stock.  The team are currently working on a booklet to be printed which will support customers in choosing these materials both in the library and via the website.  This will be available soon, and will then lead to further work on the rest of the world language stock, with a similar approach.  I am interested in any comments or suggestions you have regarding our world language books.

Sharon Reeve
Adult Reading and Learning Team Service Manager


Podcast with local author Diane Janes

Award-winning local author Diane Janes visited City Library on to discuss her first detective novel.

The Pull of the Moon is described as ‘a captivating read that injects new life into the familiar tales of murder, lies and love…a truly gripping read’ by the Westmorland Gazette.

You can listen to Diane talk to Pamela from Newcastle Libraries below. Unfortunately Diane didn’t win the Crime Writer’s Association award mentioned in the podcast. However, don’t miss out on this great read by a local author – reserve your copy on the online catalogue.


The Modern Art of Conversation

From 21 to 31 October there will be artwork displayed on the front of City Library called The Modern Art of Conversation to illustrate the 37 languages spoken across Tyneside.  This is part of  an exhibition featuring the work of leading contemporary image-makers and 3D designers. Work will be displayed at 10 sites around the city centre including City Library. The exhibition is part of the annual event Design Event North East.


East End Library has had a makeover

A new look East End Library opened on Monday 18 October with the introduction of self service machines.

Self service makes borrowing or returning items much easier and faster. They offer convenience to our customers and give library staff more time to help with enquiries.

Our self-service system relies on a small RFID tag stuck inside the book’s cover which stores details about the item. This RFID tag is then read by the self service machines, which links up to the library management system to add the item to a customer’s account. CD and DVD loans can be paid for at the machines as well as overdue fines.

Many customers will have used the machines at City, Gosforth or High Heaton libraries, but for people not familiar with them library staff are still there to give a helping hand.

The library has also had some redecoration work carried out and the layout rearranged to improve our customers’ experience. The adult lending area is spacious and welcoming with comfortable sofas where people can relax with books, newspapers and magazines. The children’s area is bright and fun with a large train brimming with books the main attraction. and a cosy Early Years corner where parents and children can sit on comfortable sofas and read together. A new teenage zone offers computers, CDs, DVDs, books and graphic novels.  Our public access computers offer state of the art printing and photocopying facilities.

Come in to see the Byker Banner- a stunning piece of artwork by artist Denise Johnson. It’s a painted collage digitally printed on canvas and was inspired by Newcastle Climbing Centre, Byker, which is inside St Mark’s Church. The banner’s three panels each reflect aspects of Byker and northern life since 1906 when the church was founded.

East End Library – something for everyone and a place to meet, relax, learn and be inspired.


Feast on some greats of British cooking

During Autumn it’s very easy for thoughts to turn to food. Children come home from school talking about the harvest and magazines and supermarkets are abundant with recipe suggestions. British-grown fruit and vegetables are also in season, including apples, blackberries, courgettes, leeks, pears, plums and pumpkins.

Perhaps it’s because there’s so much mention of food at this time of year that some of the glossy brand new books arriving on our shelves stand out. We’ve had some great titles arriving recently Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen which “brings us feel-good food for cooks and eaters, whether express-style and exotic-easy during the week, or leisurely and luxuriating at weekends or for occasions.”

For different tastes we have Feast in which Heston Blumenthal “is back with six new feasts inspired by history, literature and legend.’

We also have Jamie Oliver’s latest offering Jamie Does… This collection of recipes “celebrates the vibrant foods of six very different countries, in which Jamie Oliver explores both classic dishes and new recipes inspired by the things he learns on his travels”.

If none of these catch your eye, how about Grown in Britain: ‘be inspired to make the most of the amazing range of produce that is grown, reared and caught in Britain”.

Reserve any of the books using the title links above.

And we even have a few food books online for you to browse – simply visit Oxford Reference Online at the 24 Hour Library – free to access with your library card – where you can read An A-Z of Food and Drink and The Oxford Book of Health Foods. For those who like to eat out rather than cook, try The Good Food Guide available via our KnowUK subscription also on the 24 Hour Library.

For next month’s Information and Digital team blog, we would love to hear which books have inspired you, whether from latest releases, our cookery books or anything that catches your interest. Why not send us a recipe suggestion and we’ll share it here!

Whatever your culinary or surfing tastes, have a warm and wonderful October.

Nick Stopforth and Kerry Bossons
Information and Digital Service Team Managers


Geordie memories from Canada

The Tyneside Life and Times Collection on Flickr is a collection of over 6500 images relating to Newcastle upon Tyne and surrounding areas. One ex-resident was browsing the images and came across this photo of Leabank in Lemington from the 1950s.

056690:Leabank Lemington Unknown c.1950

”What a shock ! This photo shows me, one child back from the camera, when I lived at #19, just opposite the road junction seen. That house was used for the local policeman (my dad)  I have had several happy hours browsing the places on your site which I knew as a child. Thank you for a memorable resource … Leabank was a child’s paradise in the winter. It was very steep, with a sharp bend at the bottom – ideal for all sorts of knee scraping activities when it snowed!! What speed you could achieve with an old tin tray!!”

This was emailed by Carol Farquhar who now lives in Chilliwack in British Columbia, Canada.

Why not take a look at the Tyneside Life and Times Collection and see if any of your memories can be brought to life?


Have you got a story inside you?

Now’s your chance to unleash it with Northern Star’s search for a new North-East children’s author!

Northern Star is a competition in association with the Northern Children’s Book Festival aimed at finding the region’s next budding children’s author. The winning entrant has the chance to have their children’s book published free of charge.

Entrants are required to submit a 1000 word summary of their idea for a children’s book and the winner will get to see their idea come to life. It will be fully illustrated, printed and published.

The competition criteria are as follows:

•    entrants have to be based in the North East
•    competition is open to all ages
•    the book has to be aimed at children aged from seven to nine
•    in order to enter the competition entrants must submit a synopsis of no more than 1000 words, the winning book then has to be written within three months of the announcement on 20 November
•    the book can be on any subject but must be suitable for a young audience
•    the book has to be between 90-140 pages when printed
•    entry date: 8th October 2010
•    closing date: 29th October 2010

Entries are to be submitted via or posted to 6 Maling Court, Boyd Street, Ouseburn, Newcastle, NE2 1BP.

Shortlisted entrants will be notified week commencing 1 November. Good luck!


Spooky activities this autumn

Hi from the Children and Young People’s team!

It’s starting to feel like autumn. You notice when the leaves begin to fall and swirl around your legs. The mornings are getting darker and there’s a chill in the air. Perfect for what we’ve got in store for! Join us at City library with author Lynn Huggins-Cooper on Saturday 23 October for some spooky entertainment when we walk with witches.

But before that, come and meet Pat ‘the hat’ Speight, he’s got some great Irish tales to tell this Saturday at City Library from 10.30am onwards. Winnie the Witch stories are going to be read at story time on Monday 27 October so come and take your seat by the reading tree?

Fancy doing a bit of Halloween stuff in advance of Trick or Treating? Come along this Saturday and join in the fun at our arts and crafts session. On Tuesday 26 October the theme is continued with our special school of sorcery crafts from 2pm to 3pm.

Have a healthy Halloween and enjoy the half term holidays. Yippee!

Judy Zajac
Children and Young People Service Team Manager


Celebrate wellbeing through art

To celebrate World Mental Health Day and as part of Time to Get Moving Week, the Newcastle and Gateshead Art Studio (NAGAS) have been holding an exhibition of art at City Library. The exhibition will be on display on level 2 until Wednesday 13 October.

NAGAS provides an innovative range of creative based services that are directed at improving and enhancing the quality of life, health and the social integration of its members. They provide opportunities for those who experience mental health problems or other forms of social exclusion.

For more information phone 0191 2616027 or email


Get online in October

Newcastle Libraries’ are supporting an annual event to inspire and help people to get online – Get Online Week runs from 18 to 24 October 2010.

There are 3000 events planned across the UK, aiming to help 80,000 people get online using the helpful MyGuide website. We are hosting the following free events.

Silver Surfers: A Focus on Digital Photography
6pm – 7:30pm
Thursday 21 October, City Library

Learn the basics of getting the best out of your digital photographs at our Silver Surfers group suitable for the over 55s. It’s a great way to learn more about using computers and the internet in an informal and friendly setting. Meet people with similar experiences to you. The emphasis on learning from each other but library staff are on hand too to help solve problems you may be having with your computer and the internet.

The Silver Surfers group meets every first Thursday of the month in the ICT Suite at City Library. Meetings so far have included subjects such as how to manage folders, how to set up an email account, and how to use the internet. For more information phone 0191 2774100 or email

An Introduction to Uploading Digital Photos
2pm – 3:30pm
Thursday 21 October, City Library

If you’ve ever wondered how to transfer your photos from a  camera to a PC effectively this taster class is for you. The class will also go through the basics of simple photo editing and putting photographs online using sites such as Flickr.

Basic Guide to Understanding a Mac
6pm – 7:30pm
Tuesday 19 October, City Library

Have you bought a Mac, but still haven’t found your way around it? Or would you like to buy one, but would like to know a little more first? If so, take advantage of City Library’s high quality Macs in the ICT Suite. This class gives you the opportunity to find your way around some of the features and software available, providing you with the skills you need to make the most of your purchase!

Places on all of the sessions are limited so please book by phoning 0191 2774100 or emailing


Books on Tyne book festival

Books on Tyne is a three day celebration of books and writing to be held in City Library and at Newcastle College in association with Northumbria Press. With crime fiction, local history, poetry, drama, biography, cartooning and humour there’s something for everyone. Join a discussion, take part in a workshop or meet a host of talented writers.

The Books on Tyne festival takes place from Saturday 6 November to Monday 8 November 2010.

Simon Donald will be talking about his new book Him off the Viz and there will be talks by authors Ann Cleeves and Roz Southey. There are expert advice sessions on getting books published, theatre writing and writing children’s books. A full programme of events is available to download. All of the events are free but booking is advisable.

You can also take the opportunity to browse and buy a great range of books from local and national publishers at bargain prices. The Books on Tyne Festival is supported by The National Lottery through Arts Council England.


Improving access for VIP customers

As part of  National Customer Service Week, Newcastle Libraries are launching a new designated area on level 3 of City Library to highlight the materials and resources available to help support our visually impaired (VIP) customers.

The area will include the following:

-A computer with a 22” screen which will have Supernova screen magnification software, a large keys keyboard and headphones.

-A new book and document magnifier will be available and staff will provide a demonstration of this.

-A new ‘Penfriend’ which will assist customers choosing library materials by communicating the item details.

-Large print newspapers will be available.

-Materials  will be displayed in a variety of formats, including spoken word, MP3, DVD with audio description and large print books.

-Samples of the Talking Newspaper will be available, supplied by Tyne Sound News, and there will be the option of joining the scheme.

Customers will be able to work independently or alongside staff on a one to one basis in the VIP area. Internet taster sessions are available on a range of subjects including family history and online shopping.

There will also be information regarding supportive organistions such as the RNIB and NHS Choices.  Magnifying sheets and bookmarks will be given out at the launch on 4 October and will continue to be on sale after the launch.

An event for visually impaired readers called Touching the Past is planned on 7 October from 1pm to 3pm to give an insight into the books and other historical resources held in the Heritage section. To book a place at this session phone 0191 2774100 or email


Trick or treat? Fun Saturday arts and crafts

Who are you going to trick or treat this Halloween?  Children can get ready for Halloween by making personalised trick or treat cards and bags in this fun Saturday craft session on 16 October from 2pm – 3pm at City Library.

Suitable for children aged 8 and over. No booking is required.


October half-term events for children

School of Sorcery
Tuesday 26 October from 2pm to 3pm
City Library

Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble! Halloween is on its way so come and join in with some crafty sorcery! Suitable for children aged 8 and over. Book your free place by phoning 0191 2774100 or email

© Winnie the Witch illustration Korky Paul

Winnie the Witch storytime and crafts
Wednesday 27 October from 2pm to 3pm
City Library

Come along to a special Winnie the Witch storytime and make your own Winnie hat to take away. Suitable for children under 8. Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. To book your free place phone 0191 2774100 or email

Violet Jelly Workshop with Anne Sharples
Wednesday 27 October from 11am – 12noon
City Library

Meet author and illustrator Ann Sharples and find out about the characters from her fantasy adventure book, Violet Jelly. Learn more about drawing illustrations in this fun workshop. Suitable for children aged 8 to 10. To book your free place phone 0191 2774100 or email