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Author of the Month: Margaret Drabble

Margaret Drabble is our Author of the Month for December.

Dame Margaret Drabble was born in Sheffield in 1939. She attended a Quaker Boarding School in York then studied English Literature at Cambridge.

She is the author of numerous novels, in a long career chronicling British women’s experience throughout the changing stages of their lives.

She was appointed CBE in 1980 and made DBE in 2008. Margaret was also awarded the Golden PEN Award for a Lifetime’s Distinguished Service to Literature in 2011.

Find her collection of work on our catalogue here.

Ways to use your library during the cost-of-living crisis

As times become tougher, we look to libraries to inspire the local community.

Hampshire Libraries are versatile spaces. From cosying up and enjoying a good book to popping along to one of our rhyme time sessions with younger children – there’s something for everyone. We’ve put together some helpful guidance on the different ways you can use your local library during the cost-of-living crisis. Our libraries are welcoming spaces for the whole community to enjoy, so make the most out of our free resources. 

Find information and advice

Libraries are a great source for information and advice. This advice is provided in many accessible formats, from podcasts to eBooks and magazines, so however you like to research there’s a format for you.

Why not look at some of our books on budgeting and personal finance? These handy tips can help us through the winter period, especially as energy prices rise and the festive shopping period starts. You can even find books on cooking on a budget. There are many resources on how to budget while providing for your family.  

Upskill with a Learning in Libraries course

Our Learning in Libraries courses provide a great start to finding the right job for you. From courses on computing for all, to English for speakers of other languages, there’s a wide variety of new things to learn. Add some useful skills to your CV to give you that little boost. Or why not learn something that you’ve always wanted to give a go, such as capturing the perfect photo or the art of watercolour? 

Enjoy free entertainment

Cancel your streaming subscriptions to save some pennies? Stay warm and cosy in the library this winter to enjoy free entertainment and a range of exciting new books. All Hampshire library card holders can use the BorrowBox app, which gives you free online access to a huge selection of eAudiobooks and eBooks.

And if you enjoy listening, give our Love You Libraries podcast a go. Episodes feature interviews with some of the nation’s best-loved authors, as well as book news, library updates and in-depth discussions with the people behind the bookshelves at our branches. 

There’s also plenty of free activities available to keep children entertained over the holidays. There’s free worksheets and activities on the Kids’ Zone and audiobooks to listen to while you’re on the school run. Entertaining the whole family doesn’t have to be expensive with a little help from your local library.  

Stay connected

It can feel very isolating when we’re trying to avoid spending money on socialising. Stay connected at the library and join one of our friendly clubs. Based in warm, comfortable spaces, community clubs are welcome for anyone to join. There are a variety of activities for you to enjoy, from knit and natter groups to a Spanish communication club. Or practice wellbeing and join a mindful moments class to focus on your mental health in what can be a challenging time for many.

Get online

Public computers are free to use for all library card holders, or you can bring your own device along and connect to the free Wi-Fi. Our library staff can help you to log on and find the right software to use. Libraries also provide cost-effective printing, either from a public computer, your own device or even from home.

Support your local community

Hampshire Libraries are supporting the most vulnerable within the local community. There are now 19 community pantries across the county providing access to discounted food, some of which are in Hampshire Libraries. Community pantries provide groceries at a lower cost than supermarkets or shops, offering a range of fresh, frozen, and general foods which change on a weekly basis. Anyone can access their local community pantry as long as they’ve signed up to become a member. 

Do you know someone  who can’t visit their local library themselves? We can arrange to have library books delivered to their home on a regular basis. We offer books in standard and large print and have a wide range of audio books in different formats. If you would like to borrow a particular title from Hampshire’s stock, we can get it for you!

Looking for more ways your library can support you and your household during the cost-of-living crisis? Visit our cost-of-living resources page for more information.

Movember & Men’s Health

November is Men’s Health Awareness Month dedicated to bringing awareness to a wide range of men’s health issues. During Movember, men are encouraged to grow a moustache to raise money for men’s health charities.

Men tend to be more reluctant to seek help or treatment and, statistically, have a shorter life expectancy compared to women. But it need not be that way. Find the full collection on our catalogue. You can also find eBooks and eAudiobooks on a dedicated bookshelf with our free provider, BorrowBox.

See below for six titles, taken from our larger list, offering a wide range of information, advice and inspiration to encourage healthier, happier and longer lives.

How to Survive the End of the World by Aaron Gillies

There are plenty of books out there on how to survive a zombie apocalypse, all-out nuclear war, or Armageddon. But what happens when it feels like the world is ending every single time you wake up? That’s what having anxiety is like – and How to Survive the End of the World is here to help. Or at least make you feel like you’re not so alone.

From helping readers identify the enemy, to safeguarding the vulnerable areas of their lives, Aaron Gillies examines the impact of anxiety, and gives readers some tools to fight back – whether with medication, therapy, CBT, coping techniques or simply with a dark sense of humour.

Feel Better in 5: Your daily plan to kick-start great health by Rangan Chatterjee

It only takes 5 minutes to start changing your life. For good.

Feel Better in 5 is the first daily 5-minute plan that is easy to maintain, easy-to-follow and requires only the smallest amount of willpower.

Top tips include:

* A strength workout that you can do anywhere
* Gut-boosting snacks you can eat on the go
* Yoga moves to relax and stay supple
* Breathing exercises to calm the mind

Drawing on Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s twenty years of experience and real-life case studies from his GP practice, Feel Better in 5 is your daily plan for a happier, healthier you at no extra cost.

Inspire: Life Lessons from the Wilderness by Ben Fogle

Writing during the unprecedented period of the coronavirus pandemic and drawing on a wealth of personal stories, Ben reflects on the significance of nature to all our lives and shows us how we can benefit from living a little more wild.

Drawing on his greatest adventures, he shares what his time spent in the wilderness has taught him about life. Ranging across seas, icecaps, jungles and deserts, Ben’s stories are filled with wonder and struggle, with animals, adventure, wilderness, friendships, unexpected acts of kindness and heroism, and are bursting with inspiration directly from nature. Ben’s epic stories reveal a new side to his adventures and show how everyone can find meaning in the wilderness, even if it’s just outside their front door.

Full of exciting adventures and practical guidance, this primer on positivity is a story about overcoming obstacles, surpassing your expectations and inspiring your journey of adventure.

How to Grow Old: A middle-aged man moaning by John Bishop

Whether he likes it or not, John is getting older. His hair is greying, it’s getting that much harder to stay fit, and the potential to become something of an embarrassment is ever increasing.

But hope is not lost.

How to Grow Old is John’s offering to the world. With sage advice on how to avoid the common pitfalls of age, intimate confessions and spit-your-dentures-out hilarious commentary on his own advancing years, this is his observational comic writing at its very best. If you were concerned about how not to be boring or how to get rid of your should-be-old-enough-to-manage kids, this the book has the answers.

Man Up, Man Down: standing up to suicide by Paul McGregor

What does it do to you when someone you love tries to end their life?

Paul McGregor’s dad tried to kill himself, but survived. He went into hospital, came home, and got better. Or at least that’s what people thought. A few months later, the battle continued. And on the 4th March 2009, Paul’s dad ended his life.

You’re a young man, and your dad has just taken his life. How do you grieve? Tormented by the question of why, you lock it away and man up. You wear a mask to show others you’re coping, but you spend every moment you have alone an emotional wreck. Wishing he was still here. You chase money, status, success all as a way to distract yourself from those feelings. But none of it works. You find yourself feeling like you too, will end your own life.

Man Up, Man Down is Paul’s tale of recovery. Taking off that mask and being able to answer the questions that surrounded his dad’s suicide. If you’ve ever lost somebody to suicide, this book is for you.

Testosterone: The Story of the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us

Through riveting personal stories and the latest research, Harvard evolutionary biologist Carole Hooven shows how testosterone drives the behaviour of the sexes apart and how understanding the science behind this hormone is empowering for all.

Author of the Month: Hilary Mantel

It’s November, and that means it’s time for a new Author of the Month. This month we are celebrating the late, Hilary Mantel.

Hilary Mantel was an award winning author who won several literary accolades in her lifetime. She was the first female author to win The Booker Prize twice. The Wolf Hall trilogy has sold more than 5 million copies and has been translated into 41 different languages.

Find Mantel’s collection of novels on our catalogue.

Ten ways your local library is supporting students

The autumn term is in full swing, and everyone’s back to school, university or college. While homework, coursework and revision piles up, it can be tricky to study from home if you need access to specific materials or just a space free from distractions.

Hampshire Libraries offer a wide range of free resources for students. From study spaces to a variety of research materials, we’ve got you covered. So here’s a handy list of ways your local library is supporting students.

Free access to computers

Computer at Chandler's Ford library

If you don’t have access to your own computer, don’t worry – there’s free access to computers at Hampshire Libraries for all library card holders. You can even pre-book a library computer online to make sure you’ve got a spot saved for cramming the day before an exam. Our helpful library teams can help you to log onto the system and navigate through the different programmes you need.  

Access to printing

Anyone can print documents at the library from any computer or mobile device, you don’t have to be logged into one of our library computers or be a member of the library. You can print A4 and A3 full colour documents – perfect for coursework and poster printing. Printing and photocopying charges apply.

Study spaces and room hire

Man with headphones on laptop in public area at the library

Libraries are the perfect place to study. Avoid procrastination and pesky distractions in one of our designated study spaces. There are quiet zones throughout our libraries that offer a place to settle into a deep focus for last minute revision. You can even bring your own cold drinks and snacks into the library to refuel throughout your study session. 

You can also hire a room at the library from just £7 to teach a class or host a private study group. These are great areas for group projects and collaborative spaces, to share ideas and work on presentations together. There are over 20 locations to choose from. 

eBooks and audiobooks

Tablet with borrowbox logo resting on bookshelf

There are thousands of eBooks and audiobooks which can be downloaded for free with just a few taps on your smartphone, tablet, eReader or computer. Just download the Borrowbox app or log onto the Borrowbox website to gain access. Catch up on your reading while you’re on your travels or sit back and listen to a new book.   

Free Wi-Fi

Girl with headphones using laptop at Winchester Library

Internet speeds at home leaving a lot to be desired? Broadband dropping out just as you get to the good bit of your study break comfort watch? Stay connected in your local library and get online with free Wi-Fi available at all our branches. Log onto your own laptop, tablet or phone or use one of the public computers to get online. 

Accessibility for all

Hampshire Libraries are welcoming, inclusive spaces for all to enjoy. Our teams receive regular disability awareness and equality training. All our libraries are wheelchair accessible and are either on one floor, or have lifts provided. Most of our libraries have fixed hearing loops in which our staff are trained. All Hampshire Libraries have computers with large print keyboards and tracker ball mice.  

Study resources

Girl reading book in study area at the library

Libraries are full of study resources – from books to magazines, the British Newspaper Archive and a variety of podcasts. You can also access 15 million peer reviewed articles, perfect for project research. There are loads of online research platforms for you to use for your studies.

Activities and entertainment

Take a well-deserved break and recharge with some entertainment at the library. From comedy shows to author talks and theatre productions, check out what’s on at your local branch and extend your study session to include some much-needed leisure time too.

And if you’re a book lover, why not listen to our Love your Library Podcast? Our episodes feature interviews with some of the nation’s best-loved authors, as well as book news, library updates and in-depth discussions with the people behind the bookshelves at our branches. 

Pick up a new skill

Our Learning in Libraries courses are a great way to learn a new skill and to prepare you for life after studying. There are a variety of courses available – from finding the right job to photography and digital skills. Or unwind and destress from your studies with a yoga session – there’s something for everyone.

Group reading sets

Working on a Shakespeare play or To Kill a Mockingbird in your English class? Hampshire Libraries provide sets of books for groups to borrow. There are over 1700 sets available, with a focus on modern fiction, but we also provide some classics and non-fiction works. Make learning more fun by reading along with your friends and discussing your thoughts on the plot and characters.

So whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to study, a place to socialise with your pals or access to free eBooks and audiobooks, we’ve got you covered. Find out more and explore what your local library has to offer over on the Hampshire Libraries website.

Feeling the pinch? 4 free ways families can make the most of the library

This blog post is brought to you by Fostering Hampshire Children. Check out their #OpenYourDoor campaign to learn more about what foster care is and how you can support children across the county who need our help. 

Libraries have long been a haven for adventurers, mystery solvers, romantics, inventors and historians to settle down with a title to quench their curiosity. And it’s not just books that libraries provide; there are courses to learn a new skill, clubs to spark imagination, groups to make connections and resources to support you through some of life’s challenges.  

There’s so much your local library can do for you and your family that it can be hard to know where to begin, so we’ve rounded up some of the best free and low-cost things Hampshire Library has on offer for families. 

Connect with clubs

Children playing with construction blocks at the library

Hampshire Libraries’ various clubs and activities are a great way to catch kids’ curiosity! Maybe they want to learn about coding, or perhaps they want to try constructing something from their wildest dreams. Whatever their interest, they’ll be able to meet and make friends with other young people while learning something new and having fun. The best thing? Most of these activities are free, meaning you save money on toys and teaching! 

Books, but different

An image of an audiobook displayed on a smartphone

Not everyone likes reading hard copy books, and that’s okay! BorrowBox has eBooks and audiobooks that you can access wherever you are, and specially curated lists put together by Hampshire Libraries’ very own teams. There are also titles for children and young adults, meaning that they don’t even have to put down their phone or tablet to lose themselves in a good story.

The reason for rhyme

Parent holding child on lap while listening to a rhymetime session at the library

Did you know that bringing your little one along to a rhymetime session at your local library can be helpful for their development? Not only will it help them learn new sounds and words, it can boost the social skills they’ll need when they start school. You’ll also get to meet other parents and carers giving you some of that much needed adult time – don’t believe the myth that you have to be silent in the library, stay afterwards for a natter with your new friends! 

Get online

Young adult wearing headphones using a laptop at the library

Broadband speed in a slump? PC on the fritz? Missing technology needn’t be a barrier to getting homework sorted or emails seen to. There’s free WiFi in all of our libraries, computers that are completely free for all library card holders to use, and access to printers and photocopying for a small charge. Plus, you can use Access to Research on any Hampshire Libraries computer, giving you access to 15 million peer-reviewed articles. Homework = sorted! 

There’s lots more to Hampshire Libraries than books, so find your local branch and see what’s on! 

Author of the Month: Dorothy Koomson

Our author of the month for October is the brilliant Dorothy Koomson.

Born in 1971, Dorothy Koomson is a bestselling author of adult fiction books with over 2 million books sold. She has earned her title ‘The Queen of the Big Reveal’ with her nail-biting psychological thrillers, which pack an emotionally devastating punch.

Dorothy Koomson has been a strong advocate for Black authors to write the stories they want to tell without compromising their vision.

Try her latest novel ‘My Other Husband’ which critics are calling one of her best yet. This expertly crafted novel is full of twists and turns sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Check out our full catalogue of Dorothy Koomson titles.

Sparking Conversations about Climate Change

Does your child know about climate change?

Do they know what small things they can do to help?

Take part in our climate change worksheet activity. There are tick box questions, spaces to write their thoughts, ideas of how they can do their bit and they can also make a pledge. If they hand in their pledge to the library they will receive a cress seed prize! Just ask at your local, Hampshire library from 26 September – 12 November.

You can find some great reads about Climate Change in our Earth Heroes blog: Are you ready to be an Earth Hero? – Hampshire Library Service (hampshirelibraries.blog).

Learn a new skill: 5 books for beginners 

Reading is a great way to learn at your own pace. Whether you’re dipping your toe into something for the first time, or brushing up on an old skill, it’s never too late to learn something new. There are all sorts of guides waiting for you at your local library and checking out a beginner’s book is a great way to discover if a new hobby is for you or not. Check out these five step-by-step guides to start your journey. 

 
Macramé for beginners and beyond 

Macramé has seen a massive resurgence in the last couple of years and fills Pinterest boards across the world. Always wanted to give it a go but not sure where to start? Look no further. Learn all the basic macramé knots with the knot tutorial library so you can get started on your favourite projects straight away. Want to craft a hanging plant holder or a stunning statement arch for the garden or a doorway? This book includes on-trend macramé projects for inside and outside the home. Choose from an assortment of projects with easy and more advanced versions so you can develop your skills as you go. 

RHS grow your own veg and fruit bible 

Highly regarded gardener, Carol Klein, has collaborated with the Royal Horticultural Society to create an easy-to-follow, practical and inspiring beginner’s guide to everything you need to know to grow fruit, vegetables, salads, and herbs all year round. With an environmentally friendly approach, Carol gives all the advice you need to succeed. From preparing a plot, planning what to plant, and how to grow any one of the 80 featured food plants, this is a book to help you any time of year, whatever your experience. 

DIY on a budget: the very best tried-and-tested ideas for your home 

Let’s face it, DIY is hard. It’s a skillset all of us need but few of us master and, with all the different online tutorials, it’s impossible to know the best way to get that much needed work done. This official handbook from the founder of a 2-million-member strong online community offers tried and tested advice and all the inspiration you need to re-decorate rooms and homes of all sizes, no matter how big or small your budget. No more scrolling through YouTube tutorials – phew! 

Crochet: learn it, love it 

Crochet can be a lifelong skill perfect for making inexpensive personalised gifts for friends and family alike. With pictures, diagrams, and step-by-step guides to 40 essential crochet techniques and 12 simple beginner projects, you can dive straight in with this skill-building book by renowned crochet designer Tracey Todhunter.  

Joe’s 30-minute meals: 100 quick and healthy recipes 

Fall in love with cooking again by learning a few new healthy recipes that won’t take hours of preparation. Joe’s 30-Minute Meals is packed with everyday healthy dishes that you’ll want to make, time and time again. With chapters simply organised by main ingredient, it’s easy to find a dish you can’t wait to get started on.  

There’s more to explore 

Not found what you’re looking for? Hampshire Libraries has all sorts of books to help you learn a new skill, just search for your topic in our online catalogue to get started. Or if you learn better with tuition, check out our Learning in Libraries courses, many of them are free! 

The Big Jubilee Read

The Jubilee weekend celebrations and Commonwealth Games may be over, but you can still take part in the Big Jubilee Read in Hampshire libraries. The Big Jubilee Read features 70 titles, all of which have been written by authors from Commonwealth countries, from Australia to Nigeria, published throughout Her Majesty The Queen’s reign.  

We have chosen a recommended read from each decade to get you started, for the full list of books please visit the website. Which will you read first? Drop us a comment below and let us know. 

1952 – 1961 

A House for Mr Biswas by V S Naipul 

A tale of a dysfunctional family set in post-colonial Trinidad. Mr Biswas is determined to achieve independence, and so he begins his struggle to buy a home of his own, finding one unsuitable home to another. A dark comedy packed with conflict with his in laws. Join Mr Biswas on his determined journey, battling through life.  

1962 – 1971 

Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe 

The Arrow of God is the third volume of Achebe’s African trilogy, following Things Fall Apart and No Longer At Ease. A story of a tribe with different customs and rituals, battling through the ideas of tradition and change. The chief priest of the god Ulu is starting to lose his authority. Is his village under threat?  

1972 – 1981 

Who do you think you are? By Alice Munro 

A collection of stories following Rose as she finds her way in life, away from her overbearing stepmother. Born in poverty in the back streets of a small Canadian town, Rose journeys through life from winning a scholarship to getting married. Written by Alice Munro, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.  

1982 – 1991 

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro 

A tale set in 1956 in post-war England in the great English house Darlington Hall. The ageing butler Stevens, heads out on what he thinks is a relaxing holiday to the West Country. This takes him deep into the countryside and his past. But he may find love along his way.  

1992 – 2001 

White Teeth by Zadie Smith 

With themes of friendship love and war, this book follows three families across three generations and one brown mouse. A tale of two unlikely wartime friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. This book highlights Britain’s relationship with immigrants from the British Commonwealth, set in multicultural London between the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.  

2002 – 2011 

The Secret River by Kate Grenville 

Set in London in the 1800s, we follow William Thornhill as he makes the biggest mistake of his life. Happily married to his childhood sweetheart Sal, will William’s family have to pay for his mistake? William’s sentence is to be shipped off to New South Wales for good. Although he doesn’t know it yet, he will soon have to make the most difficult decision of his life.  

2012 – 2022 

A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam 

Set in Sri Lanka at the end of the Civil War, we follow Krishan on his way north from Colombo into the Northern Province for a funeral. His journey follows an island devastated by violence. With themes of loss and longing, this story is a memorial for the missing and the dead.  

To borrow books from the Big Jubilee Read, please visit your local library in Hampshire. You can also reserve these titles online for £1 per book. We have also chosen 22 of the titles as additions to our extensive Reading Groups Sets – if you belong to a Reading Group you can borrow these by signing up for a special Reading Group membership in your local library. Some of the titles are also available as eBooks and eAudiobooks, which can be borrowed for free through the BorrowBox app