With all the doom and gloom around libraries at the moment it’s good to see Welsh libraries celebrating culture, creativity and promoting the benefits of libraries.
Many libraries in Wales will be taking part in the Libraries Fortnight which is happening from 1st – 14th November and is an all-Wales library festival. The organisers were awarded the London 2012 Inspire mark and are part of the Cultural Olympiad and so many libraries are holding sporting or health-based events during this fortnight such as health workshops, zumba classes, games events etc, as well as cultural activities such as digital storytelling, author events, animation and rapping. Librarians can enter their event details into the database which is in the staff toolkit in the library portal .
Many of the events will be filmed and footage, together with any other materials produced (stories, films, raps, poems) will be uploaded onto librarywales.org within 24 hours of the event – creating a relay link from one event to the next. This will also form a useful legacy for libraries to use in the future to show the varied things that go on in libraries these days.
All the library sectors are involved as well, not just public libraries. Due to the small size of Wales, this kind of all-Wales approach is possible, and it means that libraries can access professionally designed marketing material, tap into funding opportunities to stage events during the festival and feel part of the bigger picture.
The festival is also a good opportunity to take the library message out of the library and attract new members in unlikely places – sticking posters up in leisure centres, health centres, sending press releases to all your local media outlets etc.
If you’re a librarian in Wales you can access the marketing material in the staff toolkit from the library portal (and if you’ve forgotten the password let me now and I’ll tell you!). You can badge your existing events with the Libraries Fortnight logos – your regular reading groups or whatever. (But due to strict rules from the Cultural Olympiad committee don’t use the Inspired by London 2012 logo without permission from Jane and Nicky, your marketing project officers who are organising all this – contact them on jane.purdie-@-wrexham.gov.uk or nicola.williams-@-wrexham.gov.uk, without the hyphens obviously!)
Previous festivals include Fancy That!, Express Yourself, and Happy Days, the latter of which won 2nd place in the IFLA International Marketing awards in 2009! (So only a little pressure to do well this year!)
I follow discussions on library matters across the UK and I know many librarians outside of Wales will be envious of the all-Wales festival, the all-Wales portal as a single first port of call etc, all of which are part of the Welsh Government’s library strategy for Wales. The new strategy, Libraries Inspire, will be launched on 7th November in Treorchy library with the Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, and will then be available online as a document. I’ll write about that nearer the time.
Now, on your marks, get set, and go! (Sign up as many new library members as possible!)