I was very pleased to be appointed as Scottish Book Trust Reader In Residence to Scottish Borders Libraries in September 2013. The principle aims of the residency is to encourage reading, and increased use of Scottish Borders libraries many and varied resources. The residency runs until June 2014. During that time I will be working in partnership with the library service.
Libraries are not only about books these days. They are a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of treasure whether it be magazines, newspapers, games, CD’S, DVD’s, local and national information, computers and of course books both loud with adventure and quiet with knowledge.
One of the continual joys of my life is the discovery of a new author; book; piece of information or a brand new word. To me entering a library is like entering a conversation with a million and one people both ancient and modern all eager to share their memories, imagination and knowledge.
Discovering libraries and books led directly to me becoming a writer. I had always since I was very young made up stories inside my head exploring far off lands, or closer to home scoring the winning goal for Scotland in the World Cup Final! Books gave me the encouragement to write my stories down and share them with other people. My house is filled with books, my head with so many more collected over the years.
The above are some of the reasons why I am so looking forward to the next few months. I aim to encourage an ongoing discovery of new imaginative worlds through discussion and sharing of enthusiasms. To promote the idea that reading can be many things both a pleasure and an education. It could result in a fresh perspective on your own environment, or the realization that different types of reading are capable of opening up different areas of the imagination and experience.
During my various residencies I have worked with a wide range of community groups and I’ve always found that a relaxed supportive group environment is one of the best ways of encouraging the expansion of knowledge and imagination. To make reading fun and enjoyable not something you feel you have to do but something you want to do. That is what I aim to achieve.
It doesn’t need to start with books but can be an interest in sports, history, cooking, and a plethora of different things. Through these common interests and bonds a group can be formed utilizing the resources of the libraries to feed that interest.
It is the aim to start a process that leads to the creation of a Border wide community of readers interconnected through their local library and community groups.
One of the many ways of achieving this is to organize various events in a local library near you, as well as pop up libraries in community spaces.
Events are already up and running. One of those is the Treasure Train. This has stopped at various locations across the Borders. An event where the whole family, grandparent, parent and child, share their own childhood experiences of reading. The Treasure Train can be filled with memories and experiences of reading a book whether old or new. ie: where they read them; their favorite character! It is mainly though about the whole family seeing each other through their enthusiasm for reading and in the process maybe encouraging grandparents and parents to revisit those childhood books. Also sharing those books with their own children and grandchildren. The plan is to have more stops along the way!
Other events included storytelling, visits to local communities via the Mobile Library and a full programme of activities for Book Week Scotland. Many more events are in the pipeline for 2014.
It is a very exciting time for reading in the Borders. It is an opportunity to share, develop, create, enthusiasm for the reading experience across all ages. To me reading is one of those rare things that always seem fresh and new. Turning a page to discover what lies ahead is a never ending thrilling experience. That applies if the book is new to you or you are revisiting a book. I have read books a number of times and each time I have discovered something new or rediscovered what I have forgotten in the rush of life.
This residency supported by the Scottish Book Trust and Creative Scotland is one of only four throughout Scotland