Inaugural Library Conference Makes Noise at Leading Festival
of the UK’s leading literary festivals is hosting an inaugural Library
to 100 library professionals from across the country are invited to attend the
one-day event to be held at the 2019 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing
Festival this July.
speakers include chief executive of Arts Council England, Darren Henley OBE.
Also speaking is leading crime author and advocate for libraries, Ann Cleeves,
whose Vera and Shetlands series were adapted for ITV and the BBC.
conference takes place on Friday 19 July at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate,
during the 16th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival delivered by the
arts charity, Harrogate International Festivals.
festival has a long tradition of working with libraries as part of its
year-round outreach and educational work. Ten years ago, the festival invited
Ann Cleeves to become its first Reader-in-Residence. This year it will deliver
its 11th annual Big Read, supported by the Arts Council, with current Reader in
Residence, author Mari Hannah.
Big Read aims to encourage crime fiction fans and entice reluctant readers, to
read and discuss the same book and utilise their local library service. It
takes place from June 3-14 in libraries across Yorkshire and the North East
with 1,500 free copies of Michael Connelly’s The Black Echo donated by publisher, Orion. Last year, The
Big Read featured James Patterson’s Along
Came A Spider.
Patterson will make a rare UK appearance on the day of the Library Conference
as Special Guest of the 2019 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. The
American publishing giant has been the most-borrowed author of adult fiction in
UK libraries for the past 11 years in a row.
Patterson said: “I was thrilled that Along
Came a Spider was chosen as the Big Read at last year’s festival and taken on
the road by Mari Hannah to libraries across the North. I firmly believe that
better readers become better thinkers, and libraries and book festivals play a
key role in spreading the joy of reading."
industry event will feature training on marketing and social media to attract
audiences to libraries led by Stewart Bain. The former senior library
assistant at Orkney Library was dubbed ‘Twitter’s favourite librarian’ by The
Times. Bain’s posts on Twitter put Orkney Library on the map, attracting more
than 28,000 followers and luring authors such as JK Rowling. He won Librarian
of the Year in 2016.
Bain said: “Crime fiction is the most
borrowed genre in libraries. It is accessible, popular and offers a gateway
into reading, so hosting the Library Conference at the biggest festival for the
genre is very exciting. Having a vocal ambassador like Ann Cleeves, a champion
of libraries and their importance to our communities, is a real morale boost
for those working in a sector that’s increasingly under pressure.”
will also look at engagement in the modern world, and how libraries can engage
with publishers and build relationships.
Walker, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Harrogate International
Festivals, said: “We’re passionate about
promoting reading, and the importance of libraries within communities. One of the
things we discovered with our work with libraries around the Big Read was how
much pressure is on librarians to deliver so much with so few resources.
Despite the enormous challenges at a time of brutal cuts in the last decade,
library professionals have enormous passion for their vocation. We wanted to give them a platform that
showed they were valued in the literary community, and to use learning from the
conference to build on our outreach work to help support and safeguard their
will be offered a free ticket to events on the Friday evening.