Sunday, 17 July 2011

Winner Gets A Bit Lost In Doddington

Thousands of children voted in a close run competition to name the winner of the Read it Again! Cambridgeshire Children's Picture Book Award.

A special presentation was held at Doddington, yesterday, to announce author Chris Haughton (Walker Books) winner of the award for his book 'A Bit Lost' - a delightful and witty story about a little owl who falls out of a nest and is just "a bit lost".

Chris received the award from last year's winner, Amy Husband at the special presentation event held at Doddington Village Hall and attended by nearly 200 children from local schools.

"Read it Again!" is a unique award for a first time picture book where the words and pictures are the work of one individual. It is run by Cambridgeshire County Council and judged solely by children who live or go to school in Cambridgeshire

This year, over 5,600 children from 48 local schools and 8 children's reading groups took part in the voting and it was the closest finish ever.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor David Harty, Cabinet Member for Learning, said; "This was the sixth year we have hosted "Read it Again!" and it was probably our strongest shortlist ever. This was borne out by the fact that all eight titles on the shortlist received hundreds of votes with the top three titles each exceeding 1,000 votes. "Read it Again! encourages children to read, explore and discuss picture books and promotes exciting new talent in the world of children's books."

Authors and books shortlisted:

"Magpie's Treasure" by Kate Slater [Andersen]
"The Wychwood Fairies" by Faye Durston [Macmillan]
"Not Me!" by Nicola Killen [Egmont]
"Birdsong" by Ellie Sandall [Egmont]
"The Talent Show" by Jo Hodgkinson [Andersen]
"Immi" by Karin Littlewood [Gullane]
"Annie Hoot and the Knitting Extravaganza" [Andersen]

Friday, 15 July 2011

Roll Up Roll Up For All The Fun Of The Circus At Your Local Library

This summer, libraries throughout Cambridgeshire will be hosting the "Circus Stars" summer reading challenge, a great way too keep children reading during the summer holidays.

Last year over six thousand Cambridgeshire children took part in the "Space Hop" reading challenge with over half receiving medals and certificates.

Libraries take part in the highly successful reading challenge as pat of Cambridgeshire County Council's drive to encourage more children to use libraries and enjoy reading.

Children of all ages up to 12 years can enroll at their local library from July 23rd. They will receive a free Circus Stars 3D folder including a membership card and stickers.

Throughout the summer, they will be challenged to read at least six books and to record the details in their folder. For each book they read, they will be awarded stickers [some with scratch and sniff panels!] to decorate their folder.

Most libraries will also be offering special sessions where children can talk to staff about what they have been reading and enjoying and get new reading ideas.

Children may read any kind of books picture books, story books, information books, poetry, joke books or listen to stories on CD. Very young children can read with their parents or carers, older children can challenge themselves with books they have never tried before.

All children who complete the challenge will receive a medal and certificate at special presentation ceremonies.

Every year the Challenge has a new theme. Last year's "Space Hop" challenge had a theme of space travel.

This year's theme has a fun circus theme featuring acrobats and jugglers. There is also a website offering children an exciting fusion of reading and IT with games and blogs from some of their favourite authors.

Cambridgeshire County Council David Harty, Cabinet Member for Learning, said: "The Summer Reading Challenge is a great example of how Cambridgeshire County Council libraries are supporting reading in new ways. The challenge has seen thousands of children taking part and gaining medals but more importantly enjoying reading and using the library. It combines free access to books with social activities and is a proven way of helping children overcome the summer learning dip, sending them back to school really positive about reading."

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Novel Children's Awards Turn Over A New Leaf

The winner of the sixth "Read it Again!" Cambridgeshire Children's Picture Book Award will be announced at a special presentation event at Doddington next month.

Around 4,000 children are due to vote in the unique awards which is for first time author illustrators and is judged solely by Cambridgeshire youngsters.

Children in schools, libraries and reading groups across the county have been reading and discussing the 8 books on the shortlist before voting for their favourite.

The ceremony will take place at Doddington Village Hall on Wednesday, 13 July, between 12.45pm and 2.30pm.

Children's Services Manager for Cambridgeshire Libraries Richard Young who devised the award said: "Read it Again! is incredibly popular with children and teachers. By the end of June, around 4,000 local children will have taken part. One teacher described it as the best literacy project she has ever worked on with her pupils. This year's list is one of the strongest ever with eight outstanding books, all very different, and all gathering lots of votes. Three of the shortlisted authors studied at the Cambridge School of Art."

Cambridgeshire County Councillor David Harty, Cabinet Member for Learning, said: "Encouraging children to read and take an active role in looking at and thinking about books is very important. This is why we encourage children to use our libraries and see reading as fun."

Besides delighting thousands of children by introducing them to exciting new books, "Read it Again!" provides feedback for the authors, with many pupils contacting them via letter or e-mail with their thoughts and questions. "How long did it take you to do the pictures?" and "Where did you get the idea from?" being the most frequently asked questions. Many lucky children have already met some of the authors at special events organised by Waterstones bookshop in Cambridge.

The award presentation will take place in front of an invited audience of around 200 school children and local councillors. The award trophy has been generously sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Wisbech and March.

The shortlist:

"Immi" by Karin Littlewood"
"The Talent Show" by Jo Hodgkinson
"Not Me!" by Nicola Killen
"The Wychwood Fairies" by Faye Durston
"A Bit Lost" by Chris Haughton
"Magpie's Treasure" by Kate Slater
"Annie Hoot and the Knitting Extravaganza" by Holly Clifton Brown
"Birdsong" by Ellie Sandall

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Prizes for poetry competition winners

Prizes have been handed out to the winners of a poetry competition at Arbury Court Library.

Three poets – Elias Acevedo, 8, Maria Dixon, 14 and Karen Rodgers, 45 – each took home a book token and a framed copy of their work at a prize-giving ceremony at the library this morning. The prizes were given out during the library’s popular Story Club session.

The competition was organised by Friends of Arbury Library (FOAL) member William Brown, and was judged by Mr Brown together with children’s author Paul Shipton (also a FOAL member) and staff at the library. You can scroll down to read the full text of the winning poems.

Mr Brown said: “We had such a high standard of entries that judging the competition was an almost impossible task. We were delighted to see so many people, children and adults, taking part and showing their creative sides. Although we could only pick three winners in the end, everyone who entered the competition is a winner in our eyes.”

Cook Book
Elias Acevedo, age 8
I got a hook
and on the hook
there was a book
and in the book
was how to cook
I took a look
and now
I can cook!

Please help save my library
Maria Dixon, age 14 
Please help save my library
It means so much to me.
Without it, I'd never have known
Tweedledum or Tweedledee.
I would not know What Katy Did 
Or Where The Wild Things Are,
I'd have no clue where Hogwarts was
Or why Frodo journeyed far.
I'd have no fiction friends you see,
No Sherlock Holmes or Baloo the Bear,
Without my books, I would be lost,
Plus, the library's always been there.
I don't want to lose my library,
I love it so dearly.
So please help save my library,
it means so much to me!

The Sanctuary
Karen Rodgers, age 451/2
In the streets it's such a riot
Where in the world can you go to be quiet?
Radios blaring, great screens glaring,
people staring: "what are you wearing?"
People lonely, but nobody caring,
no-one to ask how the old lady's faring.
Where can you go to share a story,
to reflect on life in all of its glory?
Where can you go, where people know you,
where you can share a joke, a recipe too?
Where can you go where you know you'll find
both company and something to stretch your mind?
Is there anywhere left in this whole busy town
where you can go to slow it all down?
Well, there's one place left where it's quiet and sane,
Where the colours are real and they know you by name;
where you can sit for a while, lost in wonder
where you've time to admire, to think and to ponder.
Entranced by myths and lulled by verse,
without having to overstrain the purse.
One sane place left in this whole crazy town,
please don't close our library down.  

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Opening hours consultation

Cambridgeshire County Council is currently running a consultation on the opening hours for Arbury Court Library and other branches in the county.

The proposal is to reduce the opening hours to 27 hours a week (from 32.5 hours a week). This reduction is around 17%, substantially more than overall reduction of 7% being proposed for the entire service. Despite claims that 'more popular Saturday opening hours' are to be retained, the proposal would also see the library close at 1pm on a Saturday instead of the current time of 3pm.

The consultation can be completed online and must be filled out by Saturday, June 18. We  urge everyone to use the questionnaire to make their views known before the deadline.

Further information – including a printable PDF of the questionnaire, and a letter from the Head of Libraries to local Councillor and Friends member Andy Pellew – can be found on Cllr Pellew’s blog. More information is also available on the county council’s website.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Public meetings in May

More public meetings are scheduled this month at libraries that are currently 'under review' as part of Cambridgeshire County Council's Library Service Review.

Among the dates is a meeting to discuss the future of Milton Road Library, the closest branch to Arbury Court - while meetings are also due to be held at Bar Hill, Cottenham, Comberton, Warboys and Yaxley.

The branches are currently under review, with the council exploring whether they could become multi-agency 'community hubs' or volunteer-run Library Access Points. The threat of closure if savings cannot be found still remains for these branches. Friends of Arbury Library is offering full support for these libraries, and encourages anyone concerned about cuts to attend these meetings and make their views known. The dates are as follows:
  • Cottenham Library - meeting at Cottenham Village College on Tue 10 May, 7-9pm
  • Warboys Library - meeting at the Parish Centre, Warboys on Wed 11 May, 7.30-9.30pm
  • Bar Hill Library - meeting at Bar Hill Church on Thu 12 May, 7-9pm
  • Milton Road Library - meeting at St Lawrence Church, Milton Rd, Cambridge on Mon 16 May, 7-9pm
  • Comberton Library - meeting at Comberton Village Hall on Wed 25 May, 7-9pm
  • Yaxley Library - meeting at Queen's Park Pavilion, Yaxley on Thu 26 May, 7-9pm
Meanwhile, there are currently more than 2,000 signatures to the petition to Save Cambridgeshire Libraries, but we need more - please sign if you haven't already, and pass the link on to others.

Monday, 21 March 2011

North Area Committee and public meeting dates

Residents will have the chance to discuss plans for Arbury Court and Milton Road libraries at a city council meeting this week.

Cambridge City Council's North Area Committee will be talking about the plans, which are being developed by Cambridgeshire County Council, at its meeting on Thursday, 24 March at Manor Community College. The debate is part of the meeting's 'community forum', meaning residents will have the chance to add their voices to the debate. The main meeting is due to start at 7.30pm.

Meanwhile the county council has scheduled a series of public meetings on its proposals over the next few months, including the following dates:
  • Cambridge Central Library: Monday, 28 March, 7.30-9.30pm
  • Orchard Park Community Centre, Cambridge: Wednesday, 4 May, 7.30-9.30pm
Details of all the planned public meetings, including those to discuss the 13 libraries currently under review, are available on the council website.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Petition to Save Cambridgeshire Libraries

A new petition has been launched to stand up for Cambridgeshire's library service. The text of the online petition reads:

"We the undersigned call upon Cambridgeshire County Council to reject proposals to close libraries or to replace the existing professional service with a reduced service run by volunteers. We believe that libraries are a vital part of the community."

If you live, work or own a business in Cambridgeshire, please sign the petition and pass the link on.

Legislation review - have your say

Is the legal protection for libraries under threat?

While people up and down the country are campaigning to protect library services, central Government has launched a review of legal duties that 'may create unnecessary burdens' on local authorities - including the duty to provide a 'comprehensive and efficient' library service. The public can comment on the review, and it's vital that we let the Government know that legal protection for libraries is essential.

Currently, the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 says public libraries are a statutory service. Local authorities have a duty to provide libraries and promote them, and may not charge people to use a library or to borrow books. Where changes to a library service could be illegal, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has a duty to step in.

But this week the Government launched a review of 1,294 statutory duties placed on local government, asking the public to tell them which legal duties are 'burdensome or no longer needed'. Among the hundreds of duties under review are three relating to library provision:
  1. The duty to provide information and facilities for the inspection of library premises, stocks, records, as the Secretary of State requires (reference number DCMS_026)
  2. The duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service (reference number DCMS_027)
  3. Supplemental provisions as to transfers of officers, assets and liabilities (this provides, for example, continuity of employment for transferring employees) (reference number DCMS_028)
The consultation closes on April 25, and you can comment using this online survey. The survey asks you to quote the reference numbers of each duty you wish to comment on (see above for these). We'd urge people to take part in the consultation and let the Government know why libraries need to be protected.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Save Cambridgeshire Libraries campaign

While our Friends group has been campaigning for the future of Arbury Court library, people across the county have been galvanised by the library service review and are standing up for services all over Cambridgeshire. Now anyone interested in showing their support for Cambridgeshire's library service as a whole can stay up to date by joining the new Save Cambridgeshire Libraries group over on Facebook. The page also includes a report of last week's meeting at Rock Road Library in Cambridge.

Arbury's branch is just one of 25 community branches in the county - not counting hub libraries and the mobile library service that is relied on by so many in rural communities. It goes without saying that the closure of any one of those libraries would have an impact on those that remain open - and even if all libraries stay open, cuts of £3.2m mean anyone who uses the library service in the county is likely to see a change.

We'd encourage anyone to join the group - and for fans of Facebook, you can also stay up to date with the latest news from FOAL at our own page.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Two public meetings this week - Rock Road and Milton Road

Two public meetings at Cambridge libraries this week will give users a chance discuss ways of safeguarding the future of their branches. Friends of Rock Road Library will host a meeting at their branch on Wednesday, 2 March while Chesterton Community Association will hold a meeting about the future of Milton Road Library on Friday, 4 March.

Rock Road Library, Rock Rd
Wednesday 2 March

St Andrew's Hall, St Andrew's Rd, Chesterton
Friday 4 March
doors open 7.15pm 
meeting from 7.45-9.15pm

Those wishing to attend on Friday should email to help them cater for expected numbers. If you have a particular question or point you want to raise, please send it in advance to the same address.

As we've previously reported, both branches are on a list of 13 currently under review by Cambridgeshire County Council. Ideas being explored include joining with other services to become 'multi-agency community hubs', or becoming volunteer-run Library Access Points. The council says some libraries could close 'if sufficient savings cannot be found'.

Although Arbury Court Library is not on the list of branches currently under review, we remain concerned about the impact of the planned cuts and changes on the library service as a whole. We urge anyone concerned about the future of these branches to attend these meetings.

Public meeting at Rock Road Library: March 2

Users of Rock Road Library in Cambridge will have the chance to discuss the planned library cuts at a public meeting at the branch this week. The meeting will focus on those using the Rock Road branch, but everyone is welcome. 
The details are as follows (from Friends of Rock Road Library):
"There will be a meeting on Wednesday, 2 March at Rock Road Library, to discuss the planned cuts and possible changes in the library service. The aim will also be to work out what we can do to help safeguard the future of Rock Road Library and keep our local library going.
"The meeting will be from 7.30-9pm and will be attended by Councillors Tariq Sadiq (Coleridge Ward, Labour, County Councillor) and Geoff Heathcock (Queen Edith's Ward , Liberal Democrat, County Councillor). We have also invited Christine May, who is Acting Head of Libraries, Archives and Information, Cambridgeshire County Council, and who was very informative at the meeting we held back in August 2010."

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Update: council go-ahead for library cuts

At a full county council meeting on 15 February, councillors agreed to push forward with plans to drastically alter the way library services in Cambridgeshire are run, slashing £3.2m from the budget for libraries. More details are available on Cambridgeshire County Council's website, but the four main changes agreed are:
  1. Creating a charitable trust to take over the running of the service by April 2012.
  2. Cutting staff numbers, with library branches working together in 'clusters' and bringing in more self-service machines.
  3. Finding more volunteers, and encouraging communities to help manage and run the library service.
  4. 'Changing library infrastructure': some libraries could become volunteer-run Library Access Points or multi-agency 'community hubs'. Some libraries could close 'if sufficient savings cannot be found'. Libraries are under review at this stage are:
    • Bar Hill
    • Buckden
    • Comberton
    • Cottenham
    • Great Shelford
    • Linton
    • Milton Road, Cambridge
    • Rock Road, Cambridge
    • Sawston
    • Sawtry
    • Warboys
    • Willingham
    • Yaxley
FOAL is concerned about the impact these changes could have on the quality of the county's library service as a whole, and particularly concerned about the impact on Arbury Court Library if other branches close.

The council is promising communities will have the chance to give their views on the plans at a series of public meetings in March, April and May. We will post more detail about these meetings as soon as we know more.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Library users show they have plenty of heart

We had a fantastic response to the 'Love your library' intiative, with plenty of children and adults marking Valentine’s Day by writing messages of support for Arbury Court Library on paper hearts.

You can see a selection of the messages people left on our Facebook page:

One user wrote: “I love books and reading and this library is so handy, with friendly staff and a good range of books.” Another said: “This library is special.”

Library staff described the response as ‘hugely positive’. One staff member told FOAL: “Every second person who comes through the door asks us about the future of the library and shows concern.”

The ‘Love your library’ initiative was the brainchild of Barbara Bueltmann, secretary of FOAL. She said: “I thought Valentine's day was a good opportunity to give the community a chance to express how much they appreciate Arbury Court Library, so I made some hearts and left them at the counter.
“You can see from the messages how much the library is valued as a communal space offering well managed access to information of all sorts. Someone calls it a 'life saver'. There is much concern about the future of the professionally-run library service – not just the Arbury Court branch.

“I am angry about the cuts that were agreed to in this week’s county council meeting. I think the cuts are hitting the wrong people worst – people at the lower end of society. I wish to live in a society that allows all to have access to information and education, and do not agree with the current Government strategy to cut public services in the way they plan to.  That is why I became active with FOAL, and we will keep making noise about this.”

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Show your love for the library on Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is fast approaching, but forget old clich├ęs like flowers and chocolates - this week we're asking you to show your love for Arbury Court Library with a simple paper heart.

You can express your feelings for the branch by helping yourself to a heart, and adding your name and a message explaining why you love the library. If you're feeling creative, why not draw a picture or decorate it too?

Blank hearts can be picked up from the counter until Tuesday, February 15, after which they will be collected and made into a chain. We'll try to post some of the best messages on the website.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Read-In success - Save Our Libraries day

We had an amazing turnout at Arbury Court Library's Read-In today as part of the national 'Save Our Libraries’ day.

Children and pensioners were among the dozens of library users who held an hour-long Read-In to demonstrate just how much the branch means to them. The event was also attended by Cambridge MP Julian Huppert. Plenty of books were checked out, and it was great to see so many people enjoying their local library - meanwhile the wonderful staff (who no volunteer could adequately replace) were very gracious about us descending on them for an hour.

During the day, people across the UK took part in similar actions in response to cuts and closures facing library services up and down the country. Other actions included a reading flashmob in Cambridge’s city centre, organised by library users angry about proposed cuts of £3.2m in Cambridgeshire.

Cambridgeshire County Council plans could see the county’s library service transferred to a trust, with fewer staff and an increased use of volunteers at branches.

At the same time, 13 of the county’s 25 community libraries are ‘under review’, and although Arbury Court is not among them, we are anxious about the impact these changes could have on library users across the city and county. We are pledging to oppose any reduction of library facilities or services.

Arbury Court Library is a vital facility for its community, as are all branch libraries across the county, providing access for all to essential resources and knowledgeable, trained staff. Any reduction in that service would be a disaster for residents, and we're delighted that so many of them turned out today to make their voices heard.

The library is always busy, but today it was absolutely buzzing. Thanks to all who came out to show their support!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Save Our Libraries Day: Feb 5

This Saturday, Feb 5, is national Save Our Libraries Day, when people all over the country will be descending on their local branches to show just how much their libraries mean to them. The day is designed to raise awareness about cuts and closures facing library services up and down the UK.

Two events are planned in Cambridge, including our own family-friendly Read-In at Arbury Court Library from 2-3pm. You can show your support for this fantastic facility by showing up, borrowing a book and reading with other library users.

Earlier in the day in central Cambridge, shoppers in and around the Grand Arcade will be treated to a reading flashmob from 11am. Details of this child-friendly action can be found on the event's Facebook page.

If you're not already a library member, why not take the time to join on Saturday?

Monday, 24 January 2011

Public meeting over Cambridgeshire library plans - February 2

A public meeting is to be held next week about proposals to transform Cambridgeshire's library service.

Our group is anxious about Cambridgeshire County Council plans that could see a charitable trust take over the running of library services in the county, as well as increased use of volunteers at branches.

We are encouraging residents to attend a public meeting about the proposals at 7pm on Wednesday, February 2, at Arbury Community Centre in Campkin Road, Cambridge. People will also be invited to register their interest in joining FOAL at the meeting.

Separately, we plan to join other groups across the country for a Read-In on Saturday, February 5, from 2-3pm at Arbury Court Library. This national day of action will see people all over the country demonstrating their support for their libraries by showing up to their local branches and quietly reading - and you don't even need to bring a book: the library has plenty.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Read-In protest event, February 5 - show your support for the library

Library users at Arbury Court Library will be joining others across the country for a Read-In on Saturday, February 5, from 2-3pm.

The event is part of a national day of action that will see people demonstrating their support for libraries as vital public services, by showing up to their local branches and quietly reading. Our Read-In will be a peaceful way of showing Cambridgeshire County Council just how much the existing service is valued by the community.

Anyone is welcome to attend. There is no need to bring a book - there are plenty to choose from on the library shelves - and if you are not already a library member, February 5 could be the perfect time for you to join.