Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Reader in Residence

Reader in Residence

So what does that mean? Will you move your bed into the library, Tracy Emin style? Will it be in a glass case? Will you sit propped up against your pillows - reading? Oh, you're going to go out and read aloud to people? Bet they'll stick their fingers in their ears and go lalalalalala!

These are some of the mick-taking comments I've had from friends and family since I was lucky enough to get the job of Reader in Residence in Orkney Library and Archive. It's one of those fancy titles that invite teasing from people who do 'proper' jobs. But I don't care. I couldn't be happier being given the chance to spend a year talking about books and reading, encouraging other people to talk about books and reading and collecting views from people about the part books, reading and libraries play in their lives.

"Reading is so important for children. There are so many distractions for them these days. Reading a book gives them some space, a moment for themselves, for their own imaginations to develop. The library is such a nice warm place to take a child to sit in and read a book." 

Thelma Irvine in Kirkwall Library today with her young grandson.

It's always best to start them young and Orkney Library and Archive does just that. Louise Graham, Assistant Librarian, organises an impressive range of activities for children. You can check these out on the library website: http://www.orkneylibrary.org.uk/  

I think I was six when I joined Orkney Library. At that time it was based in Laing Street in Kirkwall. The first book I borrowed was Russian Fairytales. I read it that evening and went back the next day for another book. 

Since Orkney has had a library since 1683, we may have become blas√© about it, tend to take it for granted. But all over Britain at the moment, libraries are closing. One of the things I hope to do is to gather the views and memories of local people about their involvement with the libraries in Orkney over the years. 

If you have stories to tell about your experiences with the Orkney libraries, or your thoughts about books and reading, you can post comments in the comments window here.


1 comment:

  1. Haha! We both started posting with the same subject - trying to explain what that strange reader-in-res title means. Like you, I feel I'm just so lucky. When i was wee my mum teased they'd be as well moving my bed into the local library, I spent so much time there. Hope it's not all a dream... x


Tell me your stories about reading; share your experiences of Orkney Libraries; let me know your favourite books and tell me why you like them.