A Celebration of 2017 at Hampshire Libraries!

So 2017 draws to a close and at Hampshire Libraries we close our doors for the year. And what a fantastically varied and successful year we’ve had across the service and our 48 library branches! Here is just a selection of highlights from across the last 12 months…

Summer Reading Challenge 2017

The theme this year was ‘Animal Agents‘ which proved very popular relating to both animals and detective themes for our young readers. This year 26,638 children have taken part in the scheme which means that 4% more children and their families have been into our libraries and discovery centres over the summer. We also broke our record for schools visited – 84% this year which provides a platform to engage with schools and promote the scheme through school assemblies.

This year we also trialled a new way of delivering the challenge to a Special Educational Needs School which has been very successful; with 70 children completing the challenge through a combination of assemblies and story sharing. We look forward to taking the challenge to more special schools in the summer of 2018.

The Makery Spaces

Both Fareham and Fleet Libraries each contain a Makery space: a flexible digital space which has been equipped with high specification equipment. The Makery was created for technical enthusiasts and amateurs alike to learn and develop new skills and experiment with creative digital concepts in a collaborative style using: Apple iMacs running Sketch Up Pro and Adobe Creative Cloud, Apple iPads, Lego EV3 Robotics, Raspberry Pi and Crumble kits for explore coding, electronics and the world of micro computers, 3D printing, and more!

The events, classes and workshops available at the sites continues to grow and prosper, and 2018 is a real time of development so expect to see much more announced throughout!

Jane Austen 200

2017 marked 200 years since the passing of perhaps Hampshire’s most famous and celebrated author. Naturally we couldn’t resist the chance to celebrate her fantastic books and Austen’s impact on both local and literary heritage.

While there were events, talks and exhibitions throughout the county during the summer months, perhaps the most notable was Hampshire Cultural Trusts’ ‘Mysterious Miss Austen’ exhibition at Winchester Discovery Centre. Hampshire Archives and Local Studies provided a fascinating collection of Austen related artefacts, including a fake marriage entry Austen wrote as a teenager, which went on display at The Gallery at Winchester Discovery Centre from May through to July.

Winchester Discovery Centre’s 10th Birthday

The final weekend of November saw the celebration of Winchester Discovery Centre‘s 10th anniversary, a weekend bursting with activity and an opportunity to reflect on the 10 years since Winchester Library was refurbished and reopened to huge success.

The celebrations included a public open day, showcasing some of the best attractions that the building offers. From book groups to dance troupes, the Winchester Discovery Centre has been at the heart of the local community, and the staff were proud to be part of a day packed with fun and fascination. Also a ceremony for invited dignitaries celebrated the individuals and organisations which launched the Discovery Centre in 2007 and which have supported it since. For more details see our special celebratory blog.

1 Millionth eBook and eAudiobook Download

Sometime on the 16th October 2017 our service recorded its 1,000,000th download from our fantastically successful Overdrive eBooks website. While being a significant landmark, it also demonstrated the changing offer of the library service and Hampshire’s ability to lead by example for all modern library services. All indications are that no other public library service has reached this milestone so far.

DOTS iPad Lending Service

Thanks to nearly £250,000 awarded by Arts Council England, we launched Library DOTS  (Digital; Options, Training and Support), our tablet computer lending project to help tackle social isolation and improve digital literacy.

120 3G enabled tablets were made available for eligible Hampshire residents for a four week loan period, during which training is provided.

The tablets are pre-loaded with relevant online library services, and useful applications linking to themes such as health and well being and information about local communities and services.

Micro:bit Lending

Hampshire Libraries took another step into technological lending with the micro:bit lending service. This compliments the other STEM offers, such as the Code Clubs and Makery spaces.

Micro:bits are small programmable computers, designed to make learning and teaching easy and fun. Library members over the age of 11 will be able to borrow, free of charge a micro:bit pack for a loan period of 4 weeks! Micro:bit loaning packs include: one micro:bit, battery packs, USB cables and a start up leaflet. Check the library catalogue for availability.

Libraries Week

The first annual Libraries Week, following on from the tradition of a February Libraries Day, took place between 9th and 15th October 2017. This was a fantastic time to really show the sheer variety of what libraries off local communities. While events and promotions took place throughout, a huge highlight in the celebrations was the arrival of popular broadcaster and writer Gemma Cairney to Basingstoke Discovery Centre on Tuesday 10th October. Her smaert, sassy and brilliantly animated style wowed our largely youthful audience, all the while dealing with issues of huge significance with deft and humour. We only hope to have more events like this during next years’ Libraries Week!

So here it is, goodbye 2017. We’ve been amazed by the successes and inspired by the variety, so we look forward to providing an even better year in 2018. Join us!


Hobbies for 2018

What better time to brush up on an old hobby or gain a completely new one than the new year? Join us this new year for all the great courses taking place across Hampshire Libraries, from guitar for beginners to Tai Chi – there is lots to choose from!

Arts and crafts

An introduction to digital photography

Fine painting and drawing sessions

Watercolour sessions




Guitar for beginners  

Blues guitar workshop

Ukulele for beginners

Health and wellbeing

Yoga mixed ability 

Mindfulness meditation

Tai Chi


Spanish for beginners

French intermediate


Everyday English in the workplace

If these types of course do not suit you or perhaps you are looking for children, then please visit our website here for different courses or activities.


2018 Booklist for Children and Teenagers

2018 is fast approaching and it’s time to get excited for another year of reading! Below we have listed some great reads for children, teenagers and teen plus. You can reserve your copy online or in branch with help from a member of staff.

Make sure to check out our 2018 recommended reads for adults.

Young Children

Blue monster wants it all, Jeanne Wills

Blue Monster loves brand new things. A fancy new hat . . . a shiny submarine . . . a fabulous funfair . . . and a paradise island, all of his own. But he’s still not happy! What will it take for Blue Monster to realise there are some things that money can’t buy? An original, humorous and unforgettable fable from the creators of the award-winning The First Slodge, perfect for introducing little ones to the idea of materialism and helping them realise the importance of family.

The bear who didn’t want to miss Christmas, Marie Tibi

little bear is worried that he won’t be able to celebrate Christmas with his woodland friends because he has to go into hibernation. In the festive spirit of friendship, the other animals decide to hold Christmas early so that the bear can join in. This heartwarming, festive picture book will enchant young readers.

The carnivorous crocodile, Jonnie Wild

The first in a series of original, humerous, animal tales featuring African wildlife – introducing themes of sharing, community, problem-solving and self-reliance. The jungle animals find that an extremely carnivorous crocodile has claimed their water hole for himself! Not even the elephant wants to tangle with those terrible teeth, until five flamingos show that by being cunning and brave the crocodile can be made to share his waterhole.

Charlie’s magical carnival, Marit Törnqvist.

Charlie can’t wait to go the carnival, but first his mum must find his party hat and red balloon. While she’s searching, Charlie imagines all the wonderful things they might see: lemonade rivers and lollipop trees, elephant taxis and a cake as big as a town square. When they finally arrive at the carnival, it’s even more amazing and magical than Charlie had hoped. This beautiful book, from award-winning children’s author and illustrator Marit Trnqvist, celebrates the intensity of children’s imaginations and their ability to see their imagined worlds as reality.

Horrid Henry’s school fair, Francesca Simon

Early Readers are stepping stones from picture books to reading books. A blue Early Reader is perfect for sharing and reading together. Henry is sick of never winning ANYTHING, so when he gets the chance to cheat his way to an amazing prize at the school fair, he just can’t resist. But sometimes winning isn’t all it’s cracked up to be . .


The 1,000 year old boy, Ross Welford

The astonishing, beautiful new story for all readers of 10 and over from the bestselling and Costa-shortlisted author. This is a story about someone who wants to stop, Alfie Monk is like any other nearly teenage boy – except he’s 1,000 years old and can remember the last Viking invasion of England. Obviously no one believes him. So when everything Alfie knows and loves is destroyed in a fire, and the modern world comes crashing in, Alfie embarks on a mission to find friendship, acceptance, and a different way to live.. which means finding a way to make sure he will eventually die.

The day that aliens nearly ate our brains, Tom McLaighlin

Best friends Freddy and Sal have accidentally intercepted a message from Alan – a spectacularly grumpy, brain-munching alien from outer space. Alan has only one message. Earth is going to be invaded in exactly ten hours’ time. Soon the police, Nasa and even Presidents from around the world are getting involved – and Freddy is about to become the most famous kid on planet earth for all the wrong reasons. Wolverhampton, we have a problem.

Bee boy – the clash of the killer Queens, Tony Da Saulles

Half BEE. Half BOY. Melvin Meadly is . . . BEE BOY. As a bee, Mel is ready to defend his hive against all enemies taking on killer wasps, terrifying hawkmoths, and battling queen bees. But as a boy, has he got what it takes to protect his bees (and himself) against the greatest menace of all Nasty Norman Crudwell? The highly entertaining story of an unlikely superhero, full of fantastic facts, and illustrated in black and yellow!

Charlie and me: 421 miles from home, Mark Lowery

Thirteen-year-old Martin and his younger brother Charlie are on a very special journey. They’re going to be travelling 421 miles all the way from Preston to the very tip of Cornwall. By train, bus and taxi, they are determined to get there in the end; and they’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the dolphin that regularly visits the harbour there. But is that the only reason they are going? It’s a journey that’s full of challenges and surprises. Martin adores his brother Charlie but he’s not like ordinary kids. He’s one in a million. He was born far too early, and ought to have died. And cheeky, irrepressible, utterly unique Charlie is always keeping Martin on his toes – especially on this crazy trip they are now on. Martin is doing his best to be a good big brother, but it’s hard when there’s something so huge coming once they get to Cornwall.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down, Jeff Kinney

Get ready, Book 11 in the phenomenally bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is coming! The pressure’s really piling up on Greg Heffley. His mom thinks video games are turning his brain to mush, so she wants her son to put down the controller and explore his ‘creative side’. As if that’s not scary enough, Halloween’s just around the corner and the frights are coming at Greg from every angle. When Greg discovers a bag of gummy worms, it sparks an idea. Can he get his mom off his back by making a movie . . . and will he become rich and famous in the process? Or will doubling down on this plan just double Greg’s troubles?

Teen Plus (14-19 years)

Sunflowers in February, Phyllida Shrimpton

This funny yet heart breaking teen and YA novel movingly explores what happens when Lily dies in a car accident. The trouble is, Lily is really not sure at all if she wants to ‘move on’ . . Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road. She has no idea how she got there. It is all very peaceful. and very beautiful. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance arrive, and she sees her own body, that she realises that she is in fact . . . dead. But what is she supposed do now? Lily has no option but to follow her body and see her family – her parents and her twin brother start falling apart. And then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a death time opportunity – to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time.

The walking land, Callie Bates

It’s been fourteen years since Elanna was taken hostage. Fourteen years spent being raised by the King who defeated her traitorous father. A man she’s come to love like family. But when the King is killed and Elanna framed for his murder, she must flee for her life. Her only hope is to reach her homeland, but her father wants to reignite his rebellion and use Elanna as a figurehead. He will tell his followers she is the goddess Wildegarde reborn, a warrior of legend who could make the very earth tremble. But what no one knows is that magic really does flow through Elanna’s veins. And now she must decide whether she’ll use her powers to create peace… or to enact revenge.

Anassa, Josh Martin

Less than a year since their cities were joined, the people of Athenas and Metis are still arguing. When the island is invaded by Vulcan, whose resource-ravaged, overpopulated island wants to claim Chloris as its own, Etain’s new leadership is compromised. The only way she can restore her people’s confidence and save her island is to take up a sea quest to retrieve a magical item from a volcano. Alongside her brother Taurus, Etain sets sail for the volcano. But they soon discover there is more to the quest than they realised.It’s up to Etain to be the leader she is destined to be. Should she fight, or should she try to unite?

Final 7: the electric and heart stopping finale to Cell 7 and Day 7, Kerry Drewery

The newest high-octane addition to the thrilling Cell 7 series Martha and Isaac have escaped, but are now on the run – the government has branded them rebels and a danger to the public. Despite the rewards being offered for turning them in, Martha and her friends are safe in The Rises, the area of the city full of the poor and the powerless. But then the Prime Minister orders a wall to be built. Is it to keep those inside safe – or is it to imprison them? Martha needs to act, and to act fast, in a tale of breathtaking treachery that reaches right to the heart of those in charge…

We come apart, Sarah Crossan & Brian Conaghan

Jess would never have looked twice at Nicu if her friends hadn’t left her in the lurch. Nicu is all big eyes and ill-fitting clothes, eager as a puppy, even when they’re picking up litter in the park for community service. He’s so not her type. Appearances matter to Jess. She’s got a lot to hide. Nicu thinks Jess is beautiful. His dad brought Nicu and his mum here for a better life, but now all they talk about is going back home to find Nicu a wife. The last thing Nicu wants is to get married. He wants to get educated, do better, stay here in England. But his dad’s fists are the most powerful force in Nicu’s life, and in the end, he’ll have to do what his dad wants. As Nicu and Jess get closer, their secrets come to the surface like bruises. The only safe place they have is with each other. But they can’t be together, forever, and stay safe – can they?




Recommended Reads for 2018

As 2018 approaches so does another year of wonderful reading! We have 10 reads for 2018 that you don’t want to miss out on – You can reserve your copy online or in branch with help from a member of staff.

Ambulance girls under fire, Deborah Burrows

Celia Ashton has driven ambulances throughout the Blitz for the Bloomsbury Auxiliary Ambulance Depot. Cool under fire, she revels in her exciting and extremely dangerous job. When her husband, a known Nazi supporter, is released from prison, Celia refuses to return to her unhappy marriage. Instead she joins forces with Simon Levy, a man who appears to despise her, to help a young Jewish orphan. In so doing she discovers that one ruthless traitor can be more dangerous than any German bomber, and that love can cross any boundary.

The Confession, Jo Spain

What if the confession was juts the beginning? Find out who did it on the very first page, on the last page find out why! The Confession is brutal and brilliant’ Fiona Cummins, author of RattleLate one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear. Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal? This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who – of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one?

Child on the doorstep, Angela Bennett

Angela McClusky is haunted by the young baby that she left on the steps of the workhouse. Born out of wedlock and the result of a traumatic assault, the child has grown up away from the loving arms of her mother and only has a locket to remind her of the family she never knew. Angela, meanwhile, has carried the guilt of her actions with her for almost a decade, now widowed and alone, she is courted by a new suitor, Eddie, who seems to offer her the happiness she craves. When Angela’s teenage daughter, Constance, discovers that Eddie is not all he seems to be, it drives a wedge between mother and daughter. But her secrets won’t stay hidden and now Angela must face up to her past.

A damned serious business, Gerald Seymour

There is a new cold war raging and its frontline warriors are Russian hackers – gang-members working freelance for the FSB, successor to the KGB. Massive thefts of personal information, electoral interference, catastrophic disruption of commercial and social services, banks, airlines, even whole countries disabled – this is happening now.

The dark angel, Elly Griffiths

From the Sunday Times bestselling author. the 10th DR Ruth Galloway mystery – Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist DR Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village near Rome but doesn’t know what to make of them. In the town she finds a baffling Roman mystery and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also soon finds Harry Nelson, with Cathbad in tow. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock – the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Castello degli Angeli that someone would kill to protect.

Fall from grace, Danielle Steel

You find strength when you’re at your weakest . . .Tarnished. Talented. Tenacious. When Sydney’s husband dies, she is dealt a devastating blow. He never wrote her into his will, so she is forced to leave the beautiful home they shared and is left with nothing. On a flight from Paris to New York, an emergency landing forces her into the arms of Paul Zeller. The pair bond over a shared love of fashion, and before long he offers Sydney a chance to return to the industry she loves. But when a scandal hits the company, it’s Sydney who is in the firing line. Humiliated, publicly shamed and destitute, she hits rock bottom. There are two choices: give up or start over. With the unwavering support of her daughters and the assistance of an unlikely business partner, Sydney discovers that her greatest adventure might still be to come.

No middle name: the complete collected Jack Reacher stories, Lee Child

Jack ‘No Middle Name’ Reacher, lone wolf, knight errant, ex military cop, lover of women, scourge of the wicked and righter of wrongs, is the most iconic hero for our age. This is the first time all Lee Child’s shorter fiction featuring Jack Reacher has been collected into one volume. Read together, these twelve stories shed new light on Reacher’s past, illuminating how he grew up and developed into the wandering avenger who has captured the imagination of millions around the world. The twelve stories include a brand new novella, Too Much Time.

I’ll keep you safe, Peter May

On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft. Niamh begins to look back on her life with Ruairidh, desperate to identify anyone who may have held a grudge against him. The French police, meanwhile, have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder – and sent Detective Sylvie Braque to shadow their prime suspect: Niamh.

The poppy girls, Margaret Dickinson

The Poppy Girls is the first title in The Maitland Trilogy, by bestselling author Margaret Dickinson. Even amidst the horror of the trenches, friendship will survive. Thwarted in her desire to become a doctor like her brother Robert, Pips Maitland rebels against her mother’s wishes that she settle down and raise children. However, when Robert brings home a friend from medical school, Giles Kendall, it seems perhaps Pips might fall in love with an acceptable suitor after all. But the year is 1914 and the future is uncertain.

The seagull, Ann Cleeves

visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper – and Vera played a part in his downfall. Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead, his body buried close to St Mary’s Island in Whitley Bay. However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton, but two.

A Very Makery Christmas

Join us for A Very Makery Christmas and see what you can do when you Meet – Design – Create 

We have lots to offer this Christmas Holidays at Fareham Makery with these Christmas themed sessions:

After School Club Christmas Digital Storytelling – Ages 6+

Want to create your own Christmas Tale? Come along and animate or make a comic strip of your own Tale. Using a range of programs and apps, design and create either a comic book page or animation of a simple story. Learn to interact with the digital world in a creative way to encourage safe use of electronic devices. A great way to encourage a child to be more enthusiastic about reading and storytelling.

Thurs 21 Dec – 4:30pm-6:30pm         

Christmas Holiday Virtual Reality Sessions – Ages 6+

Find out more about VR – Explore Everest, walk over the globe with Google Maps, play games and visit environments you can only imagine.

Fri 22 Dec – 2pm-4pm        

Wed 27 Dec – 10am-12pm    

Wed 3 Jan – 10am-12pm     

Christmas Holiday Digital Storytelling – Ages 6+

Want to create your own Christmas Tale? Come along and animate or make a comic strip of your own Tale. Using a range of programs and apps, design and create either a comic book page or animation of a simple story. Learn to interact with the digital world in a creative way to encourage safe use of electronic devices. A great way to encourage a child to be more enthusiastic about reading and storytelling.

Wed 27 Dec – 2pm-4pm

Christmas Holiday Raspberry Pi Session – Ages 8+

Join this Makery session to explore the world of micro computing and coding. Use Raspberry Pi computers and coding software to program external components – create unique sequences and look at how to code games.

Thu 28 Dec – 10am-12pm

Tue 2 Jan – 2pm-4pm

Christmas Holiday Crumble Session – Ages – 8+

A session where your child can design and create a gadget. Get creative by making your gadget out of recycled materials and then learn how to use Crumble electronics to bring your gadget alive. Check out the video from our last Crumble session to see the variety of gadgets that you can create.

Fri 22 Dec – 10am-12pm

Thu 28 Dec – 2pm-4pm

Christmas Holiday Lego Session – Ages 8+

A fun session where you learn about programming Lego Mindstorm Robotics.  Add to a part built robot and write code on our iPads to use the different sensors to plot a course or perform different commands.

Tue 2 Jan – 10am-12pm

Wed 3 Jan – 2pm-4pm

All sessions are £8 per child

Places are limited, so pre booking is recommended – tickets available from Fareham Library or by calling 01329 284902


The Winter Reading Challenge 2017!

We’re excited to present the brand new Hampshire libraries Winter Reading Challenge! What better way to keep warm this Winter than by curling up with a book? Just read four in four weeks and complete the Challenge this Winter!

It’s easy:
1. List the books you read in your book record
2. Give your books a rating from 1 to 5 stars
3. Collect a sticker for each book you read and complete the Winter Scene!

Loan your reads from any Hampshire Library but collect your booklet and stickers from any of the following branches:

Basingstoke Discovery Centre
Havant &
Hayling Island
Hedge End
Leigh Park
New Milton
South Ham
West End
Winchester Discovery Centre

While there is no fixed end date as yet, the initial challenge is to read the four books over a four week period – but the more books the merrier!

Some reads to get you started…

Horrid Henry’s Christmas Cracker by Simon, Francesca / Illustrated by Ross, Tony,
Four fabulously funny stories full of every family’s worst Christmas nightmares, as Horrid Henry sabotages the school play, tries to do his Christmas shopping without spending his pocket money, attempts to ambush Father Christmas, and endures Christmas dinner with the guests from hell.
Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry series has sold over 20 million copies in the UK alone, and his antics have charmed adults and children across the globe. Don’t miss out on the fun!

Where teddy bears come from / written by Mark Burgess ; illustrated by Russell Ayto.
Little Wolf just can’t sleep. He needs a teddy bear, but where do they come from? The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood don’t know, and not even Wise Owl can help. It’s only when Little Wolf bumps into a magical stranger with a bright, red coat and long, white beard that his greatest wish comes true.

Angelica the Angel Fairy / by Daisy Meadows.
Angelica the angel fairy makes sure we all treat each other kindly at Christmas time. But when Jack Frost steals her magic items, everyone from Brownies to the residents of an old folks’ home start acting up! Can Kirsty and Rachel restore order in time for Christmas?

The Battle for Christmas by Jeremy Strong / illustrated by Rowan Clifford.
When Ellie puts on her new pyjamas, strange things start to happen. She and her little brother, Max, are whisked off to the Christmas Shop where a battle is raging between a troop of toys and the scary Christmas Tree Fairy and her army of angels. Can Ellie and Max save Christmas – or will they be arrested for being mince spies?

Christmas Castle / Rosie Banks.
It’s Christmas in the Secret Kingdom, and all of the creatures in the realm are on their way to Christmas Castle for their special Christmas Eve sleepover. Summer, Ellie and Jasmine are so excited to be able to celebrate with their friends in Secret Kingdom, but soon mean Queen Malice and her nasty Storm Sprites arrive to spoil their fun.

With loads more on the library online catalogue, you’ll be spoilt for choice! And remember, CD audiobooks, eBooks and eAudiobooks all count as always! May your winter reads be merry!

Claire Tomalin Coming to Winchester

Acclaimed biographer Claire Tomalin is coming to Winchester for an evening talk in January, in celebration of her brand new book ‘A Life of My Own’. Winchester Guildhall welcomes the writer for an evening in conversation with John Miller, in aid of local charity Home Start Winchester.

Claire is an expert at exploring the life and times of great writers, this time she will be discussing her own experiences and the extraordinary career that has lead her to write biographies of the likes of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy.

Charles Dickens : a life / Claire Tomalin
Claire Tomalin paints an unforgettable portrait of Dickens, capturing brilliantly the complex character of this great genius.

The Invisible Woman: the story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens / Claire Tomalin.
Claire Tomalin’s story of the life of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens returns the neglected actress to her rightful place in history as well as providing a compelling and truthful portrait of the great Victorian novelist.

Claire’s various works are all available on the library catalogue, including several in eBook format:

Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin
The unequalled self is the astonishing biography of Samuel Pepys by bestselling author Claire Tomalin

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin
The unequalled self is the astonishing biography of Samuel Pepys by bestselling author Claire Tomalin


As one of the best biographers of her generation, Tomalin has written about great novelists and poets to huge success: now, she turns to look at her own life in her latest work ‘A Life of My Own‘, providing insights into her biographical writing.

A life of my own / Claire Tomalin
This enthralling memoir follows her through triumph and tragedy in about equal measure, from the disastrous marriage of her parents and the often difficult wartime childhood that followed, to her own marriage to the brilliant young journalist Nicholas Tomalin.


As an experienced speaker, academic and broadcaster, as well as an organiser of exhibitions and many public events, the talk promises to be fascinating. Her previous visits to Winchester were all sellouts, so early booking is advised for all those eager to hear one of our great writers talking about her eventful life. The talk will be followed by a book signing.

The event begins at 6:00pm on Saturday 13th January 2018 at The Guildhall Winchester. Tickets are £12 each including the booking fee, and are available online or call 01962 851177.

10 Years of Winchester Discovery Centre: A Celebration

The final weekend of November saw the celebration of Winchester Discovery Centre‘s 10th anniversary, a weekend bursting with activity and an opportunity to reflect on the 10 years since Winchester Library was refurbished and reopened to huge success.

On Tuesday 27th November 2007, Winchester Discovery Centre staff opened their doors for the first time. Five million visitors, three million book loans and thousands of events, workshops and exhibitions later, the Centre is a library reinvented and so much more besides. The staff involved in the planning, renovating, opening and running of the building ever since were well deserving in their day of congratulations.

The weekend began with a variety open day, showcasing some of the best attractions that the building offers. From book groups to dance troupes, the Winchester Discovery Centre has been at the heart of the local community, and the staff were proud to be part of a day packed with fun and fascination.

As with all Hampshire Libraries, the Discovery Centre loves to support community projects, and we welcomed some of the friends and organisations that we have worked with over the years including (for details of these partners see the end of this blog):

Hampshire Cultural Trust showcasing the dozens of exhibitions displayed within the Discovery Centre’s two galleries during those 10 years as part of an on-going partnership.
Winchester Science Centre providing interaction with with some crazy experiments!
– Artist Alice Kettle, with some fascinating talks and workshops.
– Popular children’s author Richard Hardie reading stories in the children’s library.
Art Talk, running FREE family craft workshops
– World record challenging roboticist James Bruton, who brought his electric Lego skateboard!
– The Winchester Fusion Choir singing us a happy birthday and performing a few favourites!
– Local partners such as Winchester Churches Nightshelter, Winchester Action on Climate Change and Pillars of Parenting and the Hampshire Library Home Library Service with information stands to raise awareness of their important work. The Home Library Service volunteers have been working with the library staff, supplying reads to immobile residents to support their love of reading.
King Alfred Buses with a vintage bus parked on our terrace!
– The Speaking Volumes and Crime Reading library book groups.
– The Winchester Chamber Orchestra super musicians as part of a string quartet.
– A raffle, entered by loaning 2 items from the library, with brilliant prizes from local business and partners.

Moving on to Monday 27th November, individuals and organisations instrumental in the Centre’s development were welcomed back for an official ceremony, acknowledging the huge success of the building since it’s refurbishment and the role of the building moving forward.

Above, left to right: Isabella Creagh, Competition Winner; WDC10 birthday cake; artist Alice Kettle with Carmel Gillies; Cllr Roy Perry

The arriving delegates in the Performance Hall were greeted by the Friends of Winchester Chamber Orchestra’s beautiful classical melodies, while a range of partners and events organisers were on display around the room. The guests were then offered guided tours of the building, providing a sense of all the diverse features the Centre offers.

Back in the hall, our Head of Libraries and Registration Services Sara Teers opened the ceremony, introducing The County Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside, Councillor Andrew Gibson. His speech congratulated the building on all its successes:

“Winchester Discovery Centre was one of our first libraries where we blended strong library traditions with modern facilities such as a performance hall, art gallery and café to transform it into a real community hub.
“A key part of this success is down to the award-winning redesign by our in-house Property Services team, establishing the Discovery Centre as a versatile space and flagship venue. The popularity of the Discovery Centre is far greater than we’d dared to imagine – welcoming visitors of all ages for reading, learning, family activities and cultural events.
“My thanks go to all of our visitors, dedicated staff and volunteers who have contributed to its success – here’s to the next ten years.”

The Leader of the Council, Cllr Roy Perry, then presented a gift made by local artist Alice Kettle to Carmel Gillies, wife of the late architect Alec Gillies who was a prominent designer of the building. Cllr Gibson then returmed to present the winner of the Discovery Centre’s Christmas Card Competition, Isabella Creagh (pictured above & below on the far left). The WDC10 cake was then cut by Isabella as the ceremony came to a close.

Above: Dignitaries from left to right: Isabella Creagh, Cllr Andrew Gibson, Carmel Gillies, Alice Kettle, Cllr Roy Perry.

In the ‘Celebration of 10 Years’  stop-motion footage that played behind the podium throughout, it proudly declared the 500,000 people per year that have passed through the Discovery Centre’s doors in every one of those 10 successful years. What a way to welcome some of those people back over the weekend, and acknowledge those that began the Centre’s journey throughout that time. We now anticipate more successes in the next 10 years!

Associated partners and organisations:

Hampshire Cultural Trust
Winchester Science Centre
Winchester Community First
Alice Kettle
Richard Hardie
Art Talk, running FREE family craft workshops
James Bruton
Winchester Fusion Choir
Winchester Churches Nightshelter
Winchester Action on Climate Change
Pillars of Parenting
Home Library Service
King Alfred Buses
Speaking Volumes and Crime Reading library book groups
Winchester Chamber Orchestra

Raffle sponsors:

  • Porterhouse Steakhouse
  • Wilds Sports
  • Sarah Bennett hair products
  • Arcana Hair
  • Koh Thai Winchester
  • The Consortium
  • Brasserie Blanc
  • Theatre Royal Winchester
  • Greens Wine Bar
  • Dim T Winchester


Christmas Charity Collections in Hampshire Libraries

We are proud to announce that this Christmas period a selection of Hampshire Library branches will become collection points for local food banks and charities.

The Food Banks campaign was initially chosen by library branch staff as a feature of the libraries’ annual campaign plan. As Christmas is a time of highest demand and potential for giving, what better time than now for our libraries to take advantage of being at the centre of local communities. We advised our branches to focus on one of two options for the campaign:

•‘More Than Food’ Banks: non-food items often forgotten as food bank provisions: hygiene products, toiletries, feminine products, household items and baby supplies. OR
•A potential alternative would be to run a shoebox drop off/shoebox scheme.

While the service as a whole is keen top be involved, we established five individual library branches that are able to contribute to the process locally. The confirmed collections are:

Aldershot LibraryFarnborough Foodbank

Andover LibraryAndover Foodbank

Gosport Discovery CentreFareham & Gosport Basics Bank

Hedge End LibrarySouthampton Women’s Aid: Women’s Shelter Collection

Lymington LibraryThe New Forest Basics Bank

Winchester Discovery CentreWinchester Basics Bank

Yateley LibraryCrowthorne Foodbank

The involvement with these charitable schemes was only made possible by the practical advice and guidance of the Trussel Trust, who oversee food bank network over a wide area, and from Winchester Community First – specifically regarding the Basics Banks at Winchester, Fareham & Gosport and the New Forest.

The option chosen at each library or Discovery Centre suit the branch locally and/or is an issue of great importance to the customers, staff and local community. It’s also excellent timing with UK Charity Week between 4 and 10th December.

We hope you are excited by this opportunity to support such excellent local schemes on your seasonal visits to the library! There will be no end of Christmas-themed fun at our branches, including arts & craft workshops, kids’ workshops, theatre shows, storytimes, book promotions and much more. See branch websites for more details.