(Christmas crafts at Jesmond Library)
I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has visited and used any of our libraries in 2011. We were delighted to find that the City Library is currently the 4th busiest in the country and that Newcastle’s libraries are used by more residents than library services in Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
We have had an action packed year! There have been some superb exhibitions, including Evolving English which looked at the development of the English language with a special emphasis on north-east dialect. Festivals included the Northern Children’s Book Festival, the Winter Book Festival and the Canny Comic Con(vention). Helped by the Mayor and Leader of the council, we also enjoyed giving out hundreds of books to residents on World Book Night. Amongst other titles, Tynebridge Publishing produced ‘Alright Now’ a look at Newcastle in the 1970s – we had a fantastic launch with huge flares and platform shoes (those were the days!).
Our Summer Reading Challenge for children at all our libraries was supported by over 50 young volunteers. We had a shadow Booker Prize Event (and no, we didn’t choose the same book as the national judges!) and we had some significant business events at the City Library as part of our bid to set up a new business and intellectual property centre. We’ve also had a whole range of author events at lots of our libraries.
This year has seen self-service machines installed at East End, Outer West, Blakelaw, Kenton and Jesmond Libraries (which also enjoyed a superb new facelift).
We were delighted to welcome comedian Alan Carr when he visited the City Library as part of the programme ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ Sadly that section was left on the cutting room floor! Newcastle also became one of 8 regional centres to hold General Register Office Indexes enabling family history researchers at City Library to have access to the most up-to-date birth, death and marriage records after 2005, which is not available online. Our History Club also achieved a national award.
Although we will have a challenging year with budgets, we are already looking forward to 2012 with lots of plans. On behalf of all my colleagues in Newcastle Libraries, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas with best wishes for 2012.
City Libraries’ Manager