Libraries and Literature in Poole

Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Libraries, Borough of Poole, and Conservative Councillor for Penn Hill ward, has been busy with Poole plans to reshape community libraries. 

The library services for the future will include new small community-run libraries in outlying locations, run by residents and volunteers in the heart of the community, with a supply of books, training, advice and support from Poole Libraries. Borough officials consulted with residents and users of the Mobile Library to ensure their needs would still be met if the Mobile Library were discontinued.

The Mobile Library in Poole costs local taxpayers £50,000 per year but is being used less and less. There were 266 users in the past year compared to 297 in the previous year and 8 out of the 11 mobile library stops averaging 6 visitors or less during a typical site visit of 50 minutes.

Now Poole library members can download free audio books and e-books. They can also access comprehensive information and reference services through the library web pages. And for customers in sheltered housing and residential homes, the Royal Voluntary Service delivers books through the Home Library Service. 

Cllr Dion: “I welcome the decision by Cabinet to progress the work to reshape our community library services and withdraw the mobile library vehicle. We know people value the library services very highly and there has been a huge amount of work and good will between our library staff and community groups in setting up alternative provision. The community libraries mean local residents have a greater offer in terms of times that a library service is available to them and we hope this type of provision grows into other local communities.”

To improve library services yet further in future, Borough of Poole and Dorset County Council will join the LibrariesWest Consortium, which includes library authorities across the South West region. The consortium is introducing a library management system to go live in Spring 2016.

From then on, library customers will enjoy a coast to coast West Country library service using the same library card to borrow and return items in over 140 libraries stretching from Porlock to Poole and Bristol to Bridport. A shared web catalogue will index nearly 3 million items.

Cllr Dion: “I am delighted that Borough of Poole has decided to join the long established LibrariesWest Consortium.  It is a great opportunity for us to work together to bring down costs and improve our services together.” 

Books are big this summer. People of all ages flocked to Poole libraries on Saturday 11 July to take part in a world record effort to win the most pledges for a reading campaign. There was an increase of 39% in library footfall compared with the same weekend last year.

In just one hour, over 580 children in Poole pledged to take part in the campaign. Soon the total number taking part stood at 699, compared with 258 a year earlier. Children were officially monitored as they posted their pledges in a bid to win the record title.

The pledge bid launched the 2015 Summer Reading Challenge to promote reading for pleasure. This year the Summer Reading Challenge has teamed up with Guinness World Records, the global authority in record breaking achievements, to create Record Breakers.

Children can sign up in any Poole library to receive great incentives as they read through six books borrowed from the library. Nearly fifty free events will be running in all the Poole libraries throughout the summer, including author visits, arts and crafts, live animal handling with Zoolab, music and storytelling.

To find out more, visit Poole libraries.

Poole Festival of Words

Poole Museum and Scaplen’s Court, 23-26 July 2015

Come along and celebrate the world of reading and writing!

Organised by Lit Up! with financial support from Borough of Poole, Arts Council England and Apples and Snakes, the Poole Festival of Words aims to raise the profile of literature in Poole through workshops, performance, and participation.

Lit Up! is part of a cross-conurbation project between Borough of Poole and Bournemouth Borough Council, and provides a hub for local writers who are keen to network with others to learn new skills, share work, and engage new audiences. 

Poole Festival of Words will offer writing workshops aimed at beginners and improvers across a spectrum of activities, including animating characters for page and stage, writing for radio and screen, and finding out how to use internal dialogue to best effect. There will be sessions tailored towards parents and children as well as a themed workshop exploring ways of animating objects on display at Poole Museum.

Festival performances will be held during the evenings, starting with a new Spoken Word showcase called ‘Spread the Verb’ on Thursday 23 July, featuring National Poetry Slam Champion, Vanessa Kisuule with support from Bournemouth Poet Laureate James Manlow and host of Apples and Snakes ‘451’ show, Rob Casey. Compered by Myriam Word Maker, there will be an open mike for local poets to share words and earn the chance of becoming a featured guest in a future show.

On Friday 24 July ‘The Weevil in the Biscuit’ takes centre stage at Scaplen’s Court when former local resident, Robert Louis Stevenson’s feverish tale of the creation of Jeckyll and Hyde is told through an interpretation by award-winning playwright John Foster.

Topping the bill on Saturday 25 July is Dorset Writers’ Network Open Story Slam, giving opportunity for local writers to present flash fiction works of less than 500 words in under 5 minutes. The finest storyteller will become Poole Festival of Words Short Story Slam Winner 2015, an accolade that comes with a prize to be announced on the night.

Poole Festival of Words ends on Sunday 26 July with an Apples and Snakes’ Power Plant: Springboard Masterclass aimed at poets looking to progress from poetry sets to touring shows. This full day of activities, advice and performance is led by professional poets and performers including Nick Field, Chanje Kunda and Matt West.

Cllr Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Local Economy, Culture and Leisure, Borough of Poole: “I’m delighted to see local talent and cultural heritage combine through a festival that marries stories from the past and present with the capacity to inspire voices of the future.”

Tickets for the activities are available at the door.