Half Term fun with Hampshire Libraries

What are you up to this half term? Don’t forget there is so much going on in Hampshire Libraries. Take a look below at a selection of our events.

Teddy Bear’s Picnic

Fun crafts to make and a wonderful trail. 10am -11am. £2 per child.

Tuesday 22 February –
Totton Library. Book now: https://bit.ly/34KjeVC.

Wednesday 23 February
Hythe Library. Book now: https://bit.ly/3Jchxii.

Thursday 24 February
Andover Library. Book now: https://bit.ly/3B1Qnb6.

Friday 25 February
Romsey Library. Book now: https://bit.ly/35XbwYL.

New Milton Library

Tuesday 22 February –
Craft Activities: Drop in between 10am – 4pm . No need to book.

Leigh Park Library

Saturday 19 February-
Games Club: 10am – 12noon

Tuesday 22 February-
Construction Club: 10am – 2pm

Thursday 24 February-
Craft Club – junk modelling: 10am – 2pm

Friday 25 February-
Games Club: 10am – 2pm

Saturday 26 February-
Craft Club: 10am – 12noon

Basingstoke Discovery Centre

Saturday 19 February-
Children’s Craft – Flowery fun: 2pm – 4pm
Construction Club: 10am – 4pm

Monday 21 February-
Construction Club: 10am – 4pm

Tuesday 22 February-
Children’s Craft – Flowery fun: 10am – 12noon

Wednesday 23 February-
Construction Club: 10am – 4pm

Thursday 24 February-
Construction Club: 10am – 4pm

Friday 25 February-
Storytime: 10.30am – 11am
– Followed by Stay and Play with building bricks and puzzles

Saturday 26 February-
Construction Club: 10am – 4pm

Colouring available all week!

Emsworth Library

Saturday 19 February-
Construction Club: 10am – 12noon

Totton Library

Thursday 24 February –
Pop-up Army Flying Museum: 11am – 3pm. Free family drop in activities. Parachute making, handling objects from the museum and things to make and do.

Petersfield Library

Saturday 19 February-
Science Appliance (Science Club): 1pm – 4pm

Saturday 26 February-
Storytime: 11am – 11.30am

Picture trail around the children’s library during all of half term!

Portchester Library

Monday 21 and Thursday 24 February –
Rhymetime and mini craft activity: 10am – 10.30am

Wednesday 23 February –
Craft and colouring activities

Saturday 19 and Saturday 26 February –
Storytime and craft: 11am – 11.30am
Construction Club: 10am – 12noon

Waterlooville Library

Wednesday 23 February-
Construction Club: 10am – 1pm

Friday 25 February-
Games Club: 12pm – 3pm

Saturday 26 February-
Book Bugs: 10am – 11am

Eastleigh Library

Saturday 19 February –
Craft & Colouring: 10am – 4pm
Construction Club: 10am – 4pm

Monday 21 February –
International Rhymetime: 10.30am – 11am
(English, French, German and Spanish)

Tuesday 22 February-
Storytime & Craft: 10am – 11am
Construction Fun: 11am – 4pm

Thursday 24 February-
International Rhymetime: 10.30am – 11am
Puzzle & Boardgames: 11am – 4pm

Saturday 26 February-
French Fun with Languages: 10am – 10.30am
Craft & Colouring: 10am – 4pm
Construction Club: 10am – 4pm

Lymington Library

Hidden Pets Trail: running all week. No need to book.

Hayling Island Library

Spring Time Trail: running throughout the Half Term week

Wednesday 23 February-
Rhymetime: 10.30am

Friday 25 February-
Birds event with School Holiday Club OSCARS: 2pm – 4pm

Fleet Library

Spring Treasure Trail: running throughout the half term week. Find the pictures of nature, associated with Spring, around the children’s library

Monday 21 February-
Storytime: 10.30am – 11.15am

Wednesday 23 February-
Construction Club: 10am – 12noon

Thursday 24 February-
Rhymetime: Session at 10am and a session at 11am

Saturday 26 February-
Construction Club: 2pm – 4pm

Gosport Discovery Centre

Saturday 19 and Saturday 26 February-
Storymakers with craft activity: 10.30am. Tickets £1 from Gosport Discovery Centre.

Monday 21 February-
Stories & Songs: 10.30am

Tuesday 22 February-
Discovery Time (pre-crawlers): 10.30am
Rhymetime (baby): 1.45pm

Wednesday 23 February-
Storytime (all ages): 10.30am

Thursday 24 February-
Rhymetime: 10.30am

Friday 25 February-
Omi Projector games: 1pm – 4pm

Stubbington Library

Saturday 19 February-
Explore Learning- Fun with Phonics (ages 4 – 6): 9.30am – 10.30am
Explore Learning – Be a Grand Wizard (ages 7 – 9): 11am – 12noon

Tuesday 22 February-
Big Garden Birdwatch Paper crafts: 10am – 11am. £1 per child. Please book at the library.

Havant Library

Tuesday 22 February-
– Rhymetime: 10.30am

Saturday 26 February-
Animal themed event: 10am – 12noon
Construction Club: 2pm – 4pm

Chandler’s Ford Library

Saturday 19 February-
Construction Club: all day

Monday 21 February-
Storytime: 10.30am
Construction Club: all day

Tuesday 22 February-
Rhymetime: 10.30am
Construction Club: all day

Wednesday 23 February-
Construction Club: all day

Thursday 24 February-
Rhymetime: 10.30am
Hedgehog Craft: all day

Friday 25 February-
Construction Club: all morning

Saturday 26 February-
Bear Craft: all day

Fareham Library

Monday 21 – Friday 25 February-
Harry Potter themed activities: Drop in at any time.

Monday 21 February-
Discovery Time for pre-crawlers: 10am – 11am

Tuesday 22 February-
Stories & Songs for pre-schoolers (1 adult to 2 children): 2pm – 2.30pm

Wednesday 23 February-
Stories & Rhymes for pre-schoolers (1 adult to 2 children): 11am – 11.30am

Thursday 24 February –
Homework Club: 4pm – 4.45pm

Friday 25 February-
Toddler Rhymetime: 10am – 10.30am
Baby Rhymetime: 11am – 11.30am

Saturday 26 February-
Storytime (5 – 8 year olds): 11am – 11.30am
Saturday Craft Club drop in: 11.30am – 3pm

From Winchester to Barchester: Anthony Trollope’s links with Hampshire

Anthony Trollope was one of the most popular authors of the 19th century, and his novels, including the Barchester and Palliser series, continue to attract new fans. This talk will explore Anthony Trollope’s links with Hampshire including family connections with Heckfield and Winchester, and some Hampshire locations that may have inspired places in Barchester.

The event also marks the 150th anniversary in 2021 of the publication of Ralph the Heir, much of which is undisguisedly set in northern Hampshire.

This is an online talk using Zoom. Participants will be required to download and use Zoom.

Previous knowledge/experience required: All you need to attend a talk on Zoom is some basic computer skills and experience in using the internet. Don’t worry if you have not used it before as we will send you some basic guidance when you book.

Book your tickets

Join Hampshire Record Office for this fantastic talk on Monday 27 September at 6pm. Tickets are just £5 and can be booked by clicking the ‘Book Now’ image.

Barchester Towers, which was published in 1857, as the sequel to The Warden wryly chronicles the struggle for control of the English diocese of Barchester. It opens with the Bishop of Barchester lying on his death bed; soon a battle begins over who will take over power, with key players including the rather incompetent Dr Proudie, his fiendishly unpleasant wife and his slippery curate, Slope. This is a wonderfully rich novel, in which men and women are too shy to tell each other of their love; misunderstandings abound; and Church of England officials are only too willing to undermine each other in the battle for power.

The only autobiography by a major Victorian novelist, Trollope’s account offers a fascinating insight into his literary life and opinions. After a miserable childhood and misspent youth, Trollope turned his life around at the age of twenty-six. By 1860 the ‘hobbledehoy’ had become both a senior civil servant and a best-selling novelist. He worked for the Post Office for many years and stood unsuccessfully for Parliament. Best-known for the two series of novels grouped loosely around the clerical and political professions, the Barsetshire and Palliser series, in his Autobiography Trollope frankly describes his writing habits. His apparent preoccupation with contracts, deadlines, and earnings, and his account of the remorseless regularity with which he produced his daily quota of words, has divided opinion ever since.

Winchester offers a veritable feast of history, much of it unrecognised by twenty-first century visitors. This history of the Saxon capital of Wessex is told through evocative photographs of its buildings and intricate nooks and crannies. Brought to life with intriguing accounts are: St Catherine’s Hill, the site of a hill fort in 150 BC; the Peninsula Barracks, once a military establishment and now home to a range of museums; Winchester College, built in 1352, and its fourteenth-century gothic chapel; Winchester Cathedral, parts of which date from 1079; the resting place of novelist Jane Austen; the working water mill, still on its original medieval site; and King Arthur’s Round Table. Featuring a map showing points of interest, this is a must-read for locals and visitors alike.

To reserve ‘Heckfield: A Village History’ by Gordon Timmins, click here: https://bit.ly/3iH69AB.

To reserve ‘History of a Hampshire Parish – Heckfield and Mattingley: https://bit.ly/2UcWI2w.

What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?…Was ever anything so civil?”

Anthony Trollope

Red tape and sealing wax? Using old title deeds for local and family history.

Have you discovered that one of your ancestors, or a house you are researching, features in a bundle of parchment title deeds? Are you feeling defeated by line after line of repetitive text reading ‘whereas’ this, ‘whereas’ that, ‘of the one part’, ‘of the other part’? Help is at hand!

This talk will show how most deeds fit into one of a few standard categories, and once you have understood how each type works, you can quickly jump to the key details to find out what they contribute to the story of a house or family.

This is an online talk using Zoom. Participants will be required to download and use Zoom.

Previous knowledge/experience required: All you need to attend a talk on Zoom is some basic computer skills and experience in using the internet. Don’t worry if you have not used it before as we will send you some basic guidance when you book.

You will receive an email confirming your booking from Hampshire Archives and Local Studies or Wessex Film and Sound Archive, which will contain the Zoom link.


Join us for this fantastic talk on Monday 16 August at 6pm. Tickets are just £5 and can be booked by clicking ‘Book Now’.

Books you can borrow…

Reserve the books today by clicking on the book cover:

Property title deeds are perhaps the most numerous sources of historical evidence but also one of the most neglected. While the information any one deed contains can often be reduced to a few lines, it can be of critical importance for family and local historians. Nat Alcock’s handbook aims to help the growing army of enthusiastic researchers to use the evidence of these documents, without burying them in legal technicalities. It also reveals how fascinating and rewarding they can be once their history, language and purpose are understood. A sequence of concise, accessible chapters explains why they are so useful, where they can be found and how the evidence they provide can be extracted and applied.

This publication is a practical guide combining genealogy with growing interest in tracing the history of your own house, buildings and community. It explains how to follow your own trail of discovery using a range of sources, starting with the building itself and progressing to who lived there.

Anyone who wants to find out about the history of their house needs to read this compact, practical handbook. Whether you live in a manor house or on a planned estate, in a labourer’s cottage, a tied house, a Victorian terrace, a 20th-century council house or a converted warehouse – this is the book for you. In a series of concise, information-filled chapters, Gill Blanchard shows you how to trace the history of your house or flat, how to gain an insight into the lives of the people who lived in it before you, and how to fit it into the wider history of your neighbourhood.

This guide will enable individuals to construct a history of their own house, a childhood home, or another property, and describes the many sources of information available to the house detective.

If we tried to sink the past beneath our feet, be sure the future would not stand.

– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

‘Here be hogs’: Maps for local and family history in Hampshire

Maps have an instant appeal, giving us insight into the changing appearance over the centuries of our localities or the places where our families lived. This talk will introduce you to some of the key series of maps that cover most places in Hampshire, mainly from the 17th to 20th centuries, and will provide advice on how to use them.

It will be illustrated with examples from the collections of Hampshire Record Office, and will also include a few of the more quirky and intriguing maps you can see there.

This is an online talk using Zoom. Participants will be required to download and use Zoom.

Previous knowledge/experience required: All you need to attend a talk on Zoom is some basic computer skills and experience in using the internet. Don’t worry if you have not used it before as we will send you some basic guidance when you book.

You will receive an email confirming your booking from Hampshire Archives and Local Studies or Wessex Film and Sound Archive, which will contain the Zoom link.

Join us for this fantastic talk on Monday 19 July at 6pm. Tickets are just £5 and can be booked by clicking the ‘Book Now’ link.

Find My Past in Hampshire Libraries

Did you know with your Hampshire Libraries membership you have access to Find My Past on our library computers? Through Find My Past you can browse thousands of census, parish, military and migration records.

Ancestry Books

Hampshire Libraries also have a range of fantastic ancestry books that you can borrow, including the following titles. If you would like to reserve a copy of any of these books, just click on the book image.

Mark D. Herber provides a comprehensive illustrated guide to tracing British ancestry as far back as the Middle Ages. Chapters include advice on obtaining information from relatives, drawing a family tree, and researching census records.

Do you know where your forebears lived in 1840, 1915, 1943 – or what their house and locality was like? Maybe you are researching your own area. This guide shows you how three great land surveys can provide information on your ancestor’s home as well as fascinating historical snapshots of your area.

Family history should reveal more than facts and dates, lists of names and places – it should bring ancestors alive in the context of their times and the surroundings they knew – and research into local history records is one of the most rewarding ways of gaining this kind of insight into their world. That is why Jonathan Oates’s detailed introduction to these records is such a useful tool for anyone who is trying to piece together a portrait of family members from the past. In a series of concise and informative chapters he looks at the origins and importance of local history from the 16th century onwards and at the principal archives – national and local, those kept by government, councils, boroughs, museums, parishes, schools and clubs.

“We’re all ghosts. We all carry, inside us, people who came before us.”

Liam Callanan, The Cloud Atlas

Celebrate World Book Night with us

World Book Night (Friday 23 April) brings people from all backgrounds together with one goal – to share their love of reading and inspire others to read more. This year the libraries of Aldershot, Andover , Fleet, Chandler’s Ford and Gosport will be taking part, sharing free copies of ‘Stories to Make You Smile’ edited by Fanny Blake and Matt Haig’s latest book ‘The Midnight Library’.

World Book Night, which is supported by the major publishers and run by The Reading Agency is a campaign to encourage reading. Reading for pleasure is a globally recognised indicator in a huge range of social issues from poverty to mental health, yet in the UK 31% of adults don’t read in their free time.

Our teams will be taking the free books into the community to reach people who don’t normally visit their local library. We will be handing out copies of both books at railway stations and Saturday markets, having conversations about reading with people who do not read regularly or have books at home.

Stories to Make You Smile

This seriously entertaining collection of feelgood stories was edited by Fanny Blake and written especially by ten bestselling novelists: Jenny Eclair; Katie Fforde; Veronica Henry; Rachel Hore; Vaseem Khan; Dorothy Koomson, Helen Lederer; Richard Madeley; Eva Verde and Mark Watson.

From a hilarious race against time to a moment of unexpected eavesdropping, from righting wrongs in rural India to finding joy in unlikely places, these stories are all rich in wit and humour, guaranteed to lift your spirits and warm your heart.

Stories to Make You Smile is also available as a free eBook and audiobook download.

The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

Matt Haig, the number one bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive, Notes on a Nervous Planet and award-winning books for children, including A Boy Called Christmas, brings us his latest book about regrets and second chances.

When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret, Nora feels she has let everyone down, including herself, but things are about to change and the library can help her find the answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?

Take part in World Book Night online

You can also join in with a number of free events on World Book Night, which are being run by The British Library in conjunction with The Reading Agency.

Kazuo Ishiguro in conversation with Kate Mosse 6-7pm
Kazuo Ishiguro, one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary fiction authors, appears in conversation bestselling author Kate Mosse to discuss Klara and the Sun, his first book since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Klara and the Sun is an intensely moving and beautiful exploration of human connection and creativity in the face of loneliness and advanced technologies. Ishiguro looks at our changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?

He talks to Kate Mosse about the inspiration for the novel, and the power of books and reading to bring people together and change lives.

This event is free to attend but booking is essential. Book your ticket now.

#ReadingHour 7-8pm
Reading Hour is an invitation for you to dedicate an hour reading in any way; read alone or with others, listen to an audiobook while preparing your dinner, have a book club meeting, call a friend to chat about books – the possibilities are endless! Share what you’re doing on social media using #ReadingHour.

Books to Make You Smile, hosted by Sandi Toksvig 8-9pm
Sign-up to hear exclusive readings from special guests about the books that make them smile. World Book Night Ambassador Sandi Toksvig talks live to featuring best-selling authors David Nicholls (One Day, Us, Sweet Sorrow), Bolu Babalola (Love in Colour), and World Book Night founder and Canongate Books CEO Jamie Byng.

This event is free to attend but booking is essential. Book your ticket now.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2021

On Holocaust Memorial Day, we remember the millions of people murdered under Nazi Persecution, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.
This year’s theme is ‘Be the light in the darkness”; a call to action and affirmation to all those marking the day. It was George Santayana who said:

Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

It’s 76 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, a day the Allies found the rumours they had heard were true and that the true crimes of the Nazis were worse then anyone could have imagined. Tragically we still have not learnt from history, as in those intervening years we have seen not just one, but another four genocides take place.

Technology has gone a long way since 1945, we now receive news of events and disasters as they happen across the world. We are bombarded with images, information, facts and news from different platforms, sources and outlets. It can be hard to know what is true and what isn’t, it’s easy to be overwhelmed, to accept information as truth without looking at the whole picture and to simple turn away as the world becomes too much.

In the darkest of times, it’s easy to get lost, to follow the loudest voice in fear of being left behind. It’s easy to lose ourselves, to lose our path and the sight of truth and what is right and wrong. Looking back at the past, to learn from the mistake of humanity, can light the spark of knowledge that will guide us through the darkness. And as we come together, knowing what mistakes to avoid, the signs to look for to stand against oppression, prosecution and fascism, we will create the light we need to ensure the children walking before us will not be lost in darkness.

We will continue to do our bit for as long as we can, secure in the knowledge that others will continue to light a candle long after us.

Gena Turgel MBE, survivor of the Holocaust (1923-2018)

2020 was a long year and as readers it’s understandable we want light-hearted books to read, books that let us escape reality for a short while and leave us feeling good. It can be hard to open a book that deals with prosecution, death and the Holocaust, but if you want to know more about what happened in Nazi occupied Europe during the 30’s and 40’s, we have four books we have read and can recommend.


The first one is The Holocaust by Laurence Rees.

In this book, Laurence Rees tries to answer two questions about the Holocaust: How, and why, did it happen?

Using research and interviews, we are given an in-depth look at not just the monstrosities that were committed, but how they could happen, why they happened and why everyday people committed some of the worst crimes in history.

It would be a lie to say it’s an easy read, but it’s so well written and well researched you can’t stop reading it. It’s not just an insight to the Holocaust and what events lead up to it, but an insight into human psychology, behaviour and needs that is terrifying, yet insightful.


The next book we recommend is Hitler’s Furies by Wendy Lower

This non-fiction book was also written using research and interviews, but instead of looking at the Holocaust as a whole it focuses on the role of women and how most escaped unpunished for their crimes.

Even though the Nazi Government was actively promoting and encouraging women to be mothers and wives who stayed at home, they employed women to work as guards at the women’s camps. It’s an interesting book, not only because it shows another side of the atrocities, but because it shows how sexism, prejudice and presumptions led to most female war criminals escaped justice.

Looking at witness statements and historical documents, this book explores a different side of history and how female guards exploited prejudice to hide their acts of violence, murder and torture.


Our third book is Clara’s War by Clara Kramer

The memoir of 15 year-old Clara, who is forced to go into hiding in 1942, is not an easy read, but one of hope, courage, love and survival.

Cramped into a small bunker to hide from the SS, this heart-braking memoir is a retelling of her experiences as one of many Jewish families trying to survive in Nazi-occupied Poland.

It’s an emotional read to hear of Clara’s survival and life in the bunker, and it’s the book that made me read Anne Frank’s Diary (The Diary Of a Young Girl).
It isn’t a story of the Holocaust in the sense it’s about the camps. Instead it showed the genocide from the view of the prosecuted, from the ones who were hiding. I often did have to remind myself it was a memoir, so Clara had to survive, but it’s hard to fully understand how anyone could have survived what she lived through.


Our fourth and final recommendation, though it’s been hard to only choose four, is The Children’s Block by Otto B Kraus

This is not the only book written about the children’s block at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the one that comes to mind especially is The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe. For those of you familiar with Iturbe’s book you may recognise the basic story, but the characters and the way they react to the situations they find themselves in is different.

This fresh point of view provides a different perspective on some of the events and actions that took place in Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Children’s Block is written from an adult perspective, which arguably gives us a fuller understanding of the context and outcome of events.

Kraus has written an ‘autobiographical novel’, which mixes his experiences with fictional characters, merged real-life characters and changes to the historical timeline. It’s a powerful book that is hard to read at times, but it will live with you for a long time. This book can be read on its own, or in companion with The Librarian of Auschwitz, you can find both through Hampshire Libraries.


To mark Holocaust Memorial Day we have also put together a collection of titles, which includes the four recommended books, as eBooks and aAudiobooks, on BorrowBox.
If you prefer physical books, you are still able to reserve books to collect from your local library, for a small charge. And you can also sign up to our click and collect service, Ready Reads, where you tell us the kind of books you like and our talented staff select books for you.

What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.

Anne Frank

National Inclusion Week

28 September – 4 October

National Inclusion Week highlights the huge importance of inclusion in not only the workplace, but in society as well. Many employers use it as a time to get connected and engage with their colleagues and talk more about inclusion. You can use the week to organise events and activities in your own workplace or community.

How are libraries inclusive?

Libraries are a place for the community. For all people, from all walks of life to come together to learn, read and have access to resources. Libraries are a safe space where someone can visit without question and borrow books and so much more!

Libraries also hold stock that is inclusive to all. We have audiobooks in CD, playaway and electronic format, and our eAudiobooks can be slowed down or sped up to make sure everyone can enjoy them.

We have large print books, which are books with larger than average font, and Quick Reads; books condensed into a few chapters with slightly larger font, making it perfect for those who struggle finding the time to read, struggle remembering long stories or just want a condensed version of a book.

We have some amazing adult picture books aimed at those with dementia. What makes these different from your average picture books, is that there are no words, no text and instead large photographs of everyday things, places and situations, perfect to share!
And let’s not forget our extra large print picture books with braille! Perfect for both adults and children to read together, and a perfect way to introduce young children to braille.

We’ve already mentioned our eAudiobooks, but did you know you can adjust the font size and background colour of our eBooks to suit you? If you’re unsure how, check out this helpful video:

We also have some amazing dyslexia friendly books aimed at children, teens and young adults. These are published by Barrington Stoke, and printed on yellow paper with clear, easy to read font, and the paragraphs are also divided up to make it easier to read.
If your child is struggling with reading, we can recommend trying these books, and also visit Barrington Stoke’s website.

Facts and figures

  • We are part of Hampshire County Council’s Culture, Communities and Business Services department.
  • Hampshire Libraries hold over 2 million items of stock and receive over 6 million visits a year – normally.
  • Every library has both public computers and WiFi, providing free access to the internet. Due to the current situation, we do ask anyone who would like to use our computers to book their slot in advance by calling 01962 454747
  • Between May and August 2020, our Home Library Service volunteers made 763 visits to vulnerable persons to deliver books and have a friendly chat.
  • During lockdown, our Home Library Service have received 36 new customers, and have been able to organise delivery of books to customers that are shielding.
  • Our Home Library Service team have been working with service from Partners and external organisations including Hampshire County Council Sensory team,  Surgery Signposters, Right at Home care agency, NHS dementia nurse and Southern Health NHS.
  • Through our Ready Reads scheme, we have had 5492 requests for regular book collections.

Standards and values

  • We will engage with customers, putting them at the centre of relevant and high quality services.
  • Contribute to the health and wellbeing of our communities by providing a safe environment and inspiring people to read, learn and access information.
  • Provide equal access for everyone and embrace digital technologies to enhance our diverse range of services.

How to talk about inclusion with children?

Reading stories together is a great way to start conversations about inclusion, diversity and how each one of us are different. We have put together a collection of books to help you get these conversations started, and to help show young children that we are all different and it is that which makes us all special and unique. And most important – that being different is okay.

Ready Reads

2020 has been a year of changes, and it’s been a tough year for everyone, but our Ready Read scheme has meant our readers have been able to keep enjoying books. After signing up to this scheme, our wonderful library staff will handpick books according to your preferences and contact you when the books are ready to collect from the library. When signing up, you can choose to collect your books fortnightly or monthly – as well as how many books you want.

You can sign up for Ready Reads by using our simple Ready Reads request form. Or phone 01962 454747 (local rate charges apply). Our teams are experts at choosing good books and they are looking forward to using their experience and knowledge to help you get the most from your local library. We hope signing up for Ready Reads will give you a chance to try something new. Who knows – you may just discover your next favourite author!

We would like to say a big thank you to our sponsor, BorrowBox, for these lovely Ready Reads bags.

Learning in Libraries

Our courses and workshops are now virtual; you can now enjoy wine tasting, gin tasting, yoga, everyday English, and much more online. Visit our Facebook page to browse all courses and workshops we are currently running – as well as any virtual events!

These online classes mean even those shielding are able to take part, socialise and learn new skills. It’s a perfect opportunity to not only learn a new skill, but staying active – both mentally and physically.
What courses or workshops would you love to see? Tell us in the comments below!

Among the Shelves

One of our key roles, as a library, is to enable access to information. We stock a wide range of materials, do not censor published content, promote understanding and provide good quality information that helps people educate and inform themselves. To challenge prejudice and discrimination, we have been celebrating black authors and cultural role models with selections of good books – all of which can be found on our library shelves.

So far we’ve had four different selections, each with their own blog. We started off with having a look at some Adult non-fiction titles; all of which are incredible reads for all. These are books giving real insight into the lives of black and minority groups, as well as real life stories. These are all titles we can recommend to all.

We then followed on with our Children’s titles, a selection of both fiction and non-fiction titles – perfect to inspire young readers and start conversations about history, present and individuality.

Next we had a selection of wonderful Adult fiction titles. Fiction is a great way to walk in someone else’s shoes, and these books are sure to make you see the world in a different light and get a deeper understanding of other people’s lives.

And finally, we are turning our attention to the incredible poetry books we have. These are all collections of powerful, beautiful and inspiring poems, both contemporary and more classic ones. This blog will come out on Thursday 1 October – so don’t forget to subscribe to be notified when our new blogs goes up!

All books in these blogs are available through the BorrowBox App, or if you prefer physical books you can browse our shelves or use our Ready Reads book collection service which gives you access to a selection of books if you are unable to browse the shelves in person – all books are chosen for you by our team..

Libraries are a place for the community; a place for everyone, and our libraries offer equal access for all. We are also embracing digital technologies to enhance our diverse range of services – now more then ever. To us, inclusion is at the heart of everything we do, and we always strive to reach those who need us the most, those who don’t need us right now and anyone in between.

The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of ALL human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance.

Libba Bray

Unconscious Bias – a booklist

Queer intentions: a (personal) journey through LGBTQ+ culture
by Amelia Abraham

In 2016 Amelia Abraham decided to quit everything and move to another country for love, but came home with her tail between her legs when the relationship ended after just ten days. Thinking about her crushed hopes – marriage, kids; things that she never saw as possible for queer people when she was growing up – the breakup becomes a moment to reflect on the idea that for LGBTQ+ people living in the West today, the options are greater than ever before. Yet, before we can take up these rights, she argues that we must ask ourselves a few questions. What were LGBTQ+ people before us fighting for – our right to be the same, or to be different? At what cost does our assimilation come? And which parts of the LGBTQ+ community are getting left behind? Embarking on a journey across the West – where the tensions that come with so called ‘equality’ are most acute – Amelia searches for the answer to these problems.

Sway : unravelling unconscious bias
by Pragya Agarwal

Have you ever been told to smile more, been teased about your accent, or had your name pronounced incorrectly? If so, you’ve probably already faced bias in your everyday life. We like to believe that we are all fair-minded and egalitarian but we all carry biases that we might not even be aware of. We might believe that we live in a post-racial society, but racial tension and inequality is pernicious and pervasive. We might believe that gender inequality is a thing of the past, but it is still ubiquitous. Unconscious bias has become a frequently-used term in our vocabulary, but there are still so many myths around it. For the first time, behavioural scientist, activist and writer Dr Pragya Agarwal unravels the way our implicit or ‘unintentional’ biases affect the way we communicate and perceive the world, and how they affect our decision-making, even in life and death situations.

A change is gonna come
by Mary Bello

Featuring top Young Adult authors and introducing a host of exciting new voices, this anthology of stories and poetry from BAME writers on the theme of change is a long-overdue addition to the YA scene.

Proud
compiled by Juno Dawson

Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN. A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.

Biased: uncovering the hidden prejudices that shape our lives
by Jennifer L. Eberhardt, PhD

We might think that we treat all people equally, but we don’t. Every day, unconscious biases affect our visual perception, attention, memory, and behaviour in ways that are subtle and very difficult to recognise without in-depth scientific studies. Unconscious biases can be small and insignificant, but they affect every sector of society, leading to enormous disparities, from the classroom to the courtroom to the boardroom. But unconscious bias is not a sin to be cured, but a universal human condition, and one that can be overcome. Pioneering social psychologist Professor Jennifer Eberhardt explains how.

Families, families, families!
by Suzanne Lang and Max Lang

Do you have two dads? Or one step mum? Or what about the world’s biggest grandpa? Discover a whole host of silly animal families in this hilarious celebration of the love found in families big and small.

Lubna and Pebble
by Wendy Meddour and Daniel Egnéus

Lubna’s best friend is a pebble. Lubna tells Pebble everything. About home. About the war. Pebble always listens to her stories and smiles when she feels afraid. But one day, when a little boy arrives, alone in a world of tents, Lubna poignantly understands that he needs Pebble even more than she does.

Wonder
by R.J. Palacio

‘My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.’ Auggie wants to be an ordinary 10-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school. All he wants is to be accepted. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

We’re all wonders
by R.J. Palacio

‘My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.’ Auggie wants to be an ordinary 10-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school. All he wants is to be accepted. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

Invisible women: exposing data bias in a world designed for men
by Caroline Criado Perez

Award-winning campaigner and writer Caroline Criado Perez shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. She exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives. Caroline brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are excluded from the very building blocks of the world we live in, and the impact this has on their health and wellbeing.

Diversify
by June Sarpong

An Award-Winning Guide to Why Inclusion is Better for Everyone. Putting the spotlight on groups who are often marginalised in our society, including women, ethnic minorities, those living with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community, Diversify uncovers the hidden cost of exclusion and shows how a new approach to how we learn, live and do business can solve some of the most stubborn challenges we face. Offering six stories, and six simple steps, Diversify explores the value we place on social packaging – how it shapes the way we see ourselves, determines who we become, and limits the opportunities available to us.Most importantly, offers practical tools, empowering us to challenge those limitations, and diversify.Combining sharp observations, fascinating case studies, and interviews with key political, cultural and business leaders, Diversify is a fierce, accessible, credible and proactive guide to how we can beat social division – and reach our potential as a society.Written by June Sarpong MBE, with accompanying research from Dr Anthony Heath and Oxford University.

The good immigrant
edited by Nikesh Shukla

How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport? Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’? Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

Far from the tree: parents, children and the search for identity
by Andrew Solomon

Andrew Solomon’s proposition in Far from the Tree is that being exceptional is at the core of the human condition—that difference is what unites us. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down’s syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, or multiple severe disabilities; with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, and Solomon documents triumphs of love over prejudice in every chapter.

Be kind to one another, remember to stop and think what you can do to make everyone feel included and how we can make the world a better place.

Digital Naturally Mindful

We invite you to seek wellbeing in nature by dipping into our new Naturally Mindful collection of 21 eTitles that explore the benefits of spending time outdoors.

This collection will help you find your way as you start to explore the many, myriad ways of relaxing in nature. Whether you’re keen to try Shinrin-yoku, better known as forest bathing, or simply like to slip off your shoes and connect with the ocean, these non-fiction titles have been chosen to  help you thrive in the busy world we all live in, a collection of non-fiction books designed to reinvigorate your love of nature whilst improving your mental health and general fitness.

This collection of eTitles can be found on BorrowBox, the library’s eBook and eAudiobook provider, to download and enjoy at home on your smartphone or tablet.

Into the forest
by Dr Qing Li

Humans are increasingly becoming an indoor species. We spend 90 per cent of our life indoors. And, on average, we dedicate eight hours a day looking at screens. Our increasingly domestic lives are having huge consequences to our health. In Into the Forest, Immunologist and Forest Medicine expert, Dr Qing Li, examines the unprecedented benefits of the world’s largest natural health resource: the great outdoors.Applying cutting-edge research and emerging science, Dr Li explores the inherent connection between nature and improved wellbeing. This practical guide will help you overcome some of life’s most problematic health issues, including how to: · reduce blood pressure; · lower stress;· improve energy levels;· and boost the immune system.`

A sweet Wild Note, what we hear when birds sing
by Richard Smyth

Birdsong is woven into culture, emotions, and landscape. It is the soundtrack to our world, shaping experiences of place and belonging. We have tried to capture this fleeting, ephemeral beauty, and the feelings it inspires, for millennia. In this rich and insightful account, Richard Smyth asks what it is about birdsong that we so love, exploring the myriad ways in which it has influenced literature, music, and art, our feelings about the natural world, and our very ideas of what it means to be human. Does the song-thrush mean to sing “a full-hearted evensong/Of joy illimited,” as he does in Hardy’s poem “The Darkling Thrush?” Examining his own conflicted love of birdsong, Smyth’s nuanced investigation shows that what we hear says as much about us, our dreams and desires, as it does about the birds and their songs. At a time when birdsong is growing quieter, with fewer voices, more thinly spread, this beautiful book is a celebration of the complex relationships between birds, people, and landscape; it is also a passionate call to arms and an invitation to act lest our trees and hedges fall silent.

Shinrin-Yoku
by Dr Qing Li

Shinrin-Yoku or forest bathing is the practice of spending time in the forest for better health, happiness and a sense of calm. A pillar of Japanese culture for decades, Shinrin-Yoku is a way to reconnect with nature, from walking mindfully in the woods, to a break in your local park, to walking barefoot on your lawn. Forest Medicine expert, Dr Qing Li’s research has proven that spending time around trees (even filling your home with house plants and vaporising essential tree oils) can reduce blood pressure, lower stress, boost energy, boost immune system and even help you to lose weight.

The Natural Navigator
by Tristan Gooley

Starting with a simple question – ‘Which way am I looking?’ – Tristan Gooley blends natural science, myth, folklore and the history of travel to introduce you to the rare and ancient art of finding your way using nature’s own sign-posts, from the feel of a rock to the look of the moon.With Tristan’s help, you’ll learn why some trees grow the way they do and how they can help you find your way in the countryside. You’ll discover how it’s possible to find North simply by looking at a puddle and how natural signs can be used to navigate on the open ocean and in the heart of the city. Wonderfully detailed and full of fascinating stories, this is a glorious exploration of the rediscovered art of natural navigation.

The Seafarers
by Stephen Rutt

The British Isles are remarkable for their extraordinary seabird life: spectacular gatherings of charismatic Arctic terns, elegant fulmars and stoic eiders, to name just a few. Often found in the most remote and dramatic reaches of our shores, these colonies are landscapes shaped not by us but by the birds.In 2015, Stephen Rutt escaped his hectic, anxiety-inducing life in London for the bird observatory on North Ronaldsay, the most northerly of the Orkney Islands. In thrall to these windswept havens and the people and birds that inhabit them, he began a journey to the edges of Britain. From Shetland, to the Farnes of Northumberland, down to the Welsh islands off the Pembrokeshire coast, he explores the part seabirds have played in our history and what they continue to mean to Britain today.The Seafarers is the story of those travels: a love letter, written from the rocks and the edges, for the salt-stained, isolated and ever-changing lives of seabirds. This beguiling book reveals what it feels like to be immersed in a completely wild landscape, examining the allure of the remote in an over-crowded world

Wisdom from a humble jellyfish
by Rani Shah

We could all learn a thing or two about living in balance from our friends in the plant and animal kingdom. Take, for example, the jellyfish, one of the most energy-efficient animals in the world, moving through the ocean by contracting and relaxing, with frequent breaks in between. Or the avocado tree, which can credit its existence to a mutually beneficial relationship with the pre-historic sloth, followed by some hungry, hungry humans and the advent of agriculture. And then there is the oyster, producing a pearl as the result of an immune response when a grain of sand invades her system. What better example exists of how adversity can produce something beautiful?We need look no farther than nature—from the habits of the porcupine to the sunflower to the wombat to the dragonfly—for small and simple things we can do to slow down, recharge, and living more thoughtfully, lovingly, and harmoniously.Wisdom From a Humble Jellyfish . . . is at once charming and scientific, packed with essential wisdom and practical tips worth borrowing from our plant and animal friends for life-changing self-care.

The Old Ways
by Robert Macfarlane

In The Old Ways Robert Macfarlane sets off from his Cambridge home to follow the ancient tracks, holloways, drove-roads and sea paths that form part of a vast network of routes criss-crossing the British landscape and its waters, and connecting them to the continents beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the ghosts and voices that haunt old paths, of the stories our tracks keep and tell, of pilgrimage and ritual, and of songlines and their singers. Above all this is a book about people and place: about walking as a reconnoitre inwards, and the subtle ways in which we are shaped by the landscapes through which we move.Told in Macfarlane’s distinctive and celebrated voice, the book folds together natural history, cartography, geology, archaeology and literature. His tracks take him from the chalk downs of England to the bird-islands of the Scottish northwest, and from the disputed territories of Palestine to the sacred landscapes of Spain and the Himalayas. Along the way he walks stride for stride with a 5000-year-old man near Liverpool, follows the ‘deadliest path in Britain’, sails an open boat out into the Atlantic at night, and crosses paths with walkers of many kinds – wanderers, wayfarers, pilgrims, guides, shamans, poets, trespassers and devouts.

Landmarks
by Robert Macfarlane

Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about the power of language to shape our sense of place. It is a field guide to the literature of nature, and a glossary containing thousands of remarkable words used in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to describe land, nature and weather. Travelling from Cumbria to the Cairngorms, and exploring the landscapes of Roger Deakin, J. A. Baker, Nan Shepherd and others, Robert Macfarlane shows that language, well used, is a keen way of knowing landscape, and a vital means of coming to love it.

The Garden Jungle
by Dave Coulson

The Garden Jungle is about the wildlife that lives right under our noses, in our gardens and parks, between the gaps in the pavement, and in the soil beneath our feet. Wherever you are right now, the chances are that there are worms, woodlice, centipedes, flies, silverfish, wasps, beetles, mice, shrews and much, much more, quietly living within just a few paces of you.Dave Goulson gives us an insight into the fascinating and sometimes weird lives of these creatures, taking us burrowing into the compost heap, digging under the lawn and diving into the garden pond. He explains how our lives and ultimately the fate of humankind are inextricably intertwined with that of earwigs, bees, lacewings and hoverflies, unappreciated heroes of the natural world.The Garden Jungle is at times an immensely serious book, exploring the environmental harm inadvertently done by gardeners who buy intensively reared plants in disposable plastic pots, sprayed with pesticides and grown in peat cut from the ground. Goulson argues that gardens could become places where we can reconnect with nature and rediscover where food comes from. With just a few small changes, our gardens could become a vast network of tiny nature reserves, where humans and wildlife can thrive together in harmony rather than conflict. For anyone who has a garden, and cares about our planet, this book is essential reading.

Bring the outside in
by Val Bradley

Love plants, but short on outdoor space? Or feeling inspired by striking terrariums and succulent gardens? Keen to create a unique home brimming with greenery? Then this is the book for you. With stunning photography and expert step-by-step tips, Bring The Outside In reveals everything you need to know to help your plants thrive, from dramatic statement foliage and miniature citrus trees to table-top terrariums and hanging planters. With chapters on orchids, cacti, herb gardens and chilli plants, your home will be flourishing in no time.

Gardening in pyjamas
by Helen Yemm

The Daily Telegraph’s much-loved columnist Helen Yemm manages to strike a happy balance between giving you enough information to get you going and not so much that it scares you or puts you off entirely. She dispenses invaluable advice, minus the mumbo jumbo, with refreshing humour and a clear understanding that not everyone has the wherewithal, in terms of time and finances, to spend every possible moment in the garden. So if you find yourself padding about your plot in your nightclothes without really knowing what to do, Gardening in Your Pyjamaswill provide you with all the essential facts to nurture your growing passion.

Mindfulness in the garden
by Murray Zachiah

Mindfulness in the Garden offers simple mindfulness verses (gathas) composed to connect the mind and body and to bring the reader/gardener’s awareness to the details of the present moment as they work in the garden. These gathas are signposts leading to nature, to the present, and ultimately to one’s self through the love and understanding they evoke. The gathas offered with each gardening activity serves to water the seeds of mindfulness within us, and softening and preparing the ground for our ability to be present.Mindfulness in the Garden values weeds as important messengers seeking to bring into close communion our spiritual nature with that of the environment. It likens spiritual practice to cultivating a garden and inspires each person to accept themselves and start where they are, weeds and all. Through the practice of mindful gardening, we invite not only the thriving of the natural world but also the flowering and beauty of the pure land of our true self to emerge.Features black and white botanical illustrations throughout.

The Natural Health Service
by Isobel Hardman

In 2016, Isabel Hardman’s mind, in her own words, ‘stopped working’ as she fell prey to severe depression and anxiety. She took time off on long-term sick leave and despite several relapses has returned to work with a much improved ability to cope. She has since become one of the UK’s most prominent public voices on mental health.

She credits her better health to her passion for exercise, nature and the great outdoors – from horse-riding and botany to cold-water swimming and running. In The Natural Health Service, she draws on her own personal experience, interviews with mental illness sufferers and psychologists, and the latest research to examine what role wildlife and exercise can play in helping anyone cope with mental illness. Straight-talking, thoroughly-researched, and compassionate, this important and often funny book will fascinate anyone touched by a mental health condition, whether themselves or through the experiences of a loved-one.

Walks in the Wild
by Peter Wohlleben

Can you tell the difference between wolf and dog prints? Which trees are best to shelter under a storm? How do you tell a deciduous and coniferous tree apart? Bestselling author of The Hidden Life of trees, Peter Wohlleben, lets you in on the quintessentials of his forestry knowledge. He invites you on an atmospheric journey of discovery. Learn to find your way around the woods without a compass or GPS, which berries and mushrooms are good to eat, how to read animal tracks and what it’s like to spend a night alone in a forest.

The Hidden Life of Trees
by Peter Wohlleben

Research is now suggesting trees are capable of much more than we have ever known. In The Hidden Life of Trees, forester Peter Wohlleben puts groundbreaking scientific discoveries into a language everyone can relate to. In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware. Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group. Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth. After a walk through the woods with Wohlleben, you’ll never look at trees the same way again.

Slow
by Jo Peters

Discover ways to slow down time with this invaluable guide to slow living. It will not only boost your physical and mental well-being but enrich your relationships and help you to reconnect with what’s really important.

With practical advice on self-care, breathing techniques, mindfulness, ethical living and eating, and how best to cultivate quiet moments every day, ‘Slow’ is your companion to a happier, calmer you.

Salt on your tongue
by Charlotte Runcie

Charlotte Runcie has always felt pulled to the sea, lured by its soothing, calming qualities but also enlivened and inspired by its salty wildness. When she loses her beloved grandmother, and becomes pregnant with her first child, she feels its pull even more intensely.In Salt On Your Tongue Charlotte explores what the sea means to us, and particularly what it has meant to women through the ages. This book is a walk on the beach with Turner, with Shakespeare, with the Romantic Poets and shanty-singers. It’s an ode to our oceans – to the sailors who brave their treacherous waters, to the women who lost their loved ones to the waves, to the creatures that dwell in their depths, to beach trawlers, swimmers, sea birds and mermaids.In mesmerising prose, Charlotte Runcie explores how the sea has inspired, fascinated and terrified us, and how she herself fell in love with the deep blue. Navigating through ancient Greek myths, poetry, shipwrecks and Scottish folktales, Salt On Your Tongue is about how the wild untameable waves can help us understand what it means to be human.

Down to the river and up to the trees : discover the magic of forest therapy and many more natural wonders
by Sue Belfrage

In a stressful, chaotic world, many of us are turning to nature for a sense of serenity and happiness.This new wellness trend captures the desire to surround ourselves with flora and fauna. While the idea of the wild outdoors is enticing, though, our busy lives and our location can cause us to become detached from nature. Nature Notes will show you how to connect with the natural world around you, whether you live in the city or the countryside.From getting to know the local wildlife, to foraging and creating naturally-sourced masterpieces, Nature Notes is brimming with practical information, intriguing quotes and inspirational ideas. Discover how to carve your own spoon; to be able to tell if the moon is waxing or waning; or try forest bathing (surrounding yourself with trees). Learn how to make yourself at home amongst the animals and plants on your doorstep, in harmony with your surroundings.

Rewild yourself : 23 spellbinding ways to make nature more visible
by Simon Barnes

But we can make hidden things visible, and this book features 23 spells that will bring the magic of nature much closer to home.Mammals you never knew existed will enter your world. Birds hidden in treetops will shed their cloak of anonymity. With a single movement of your hand you can make reptiles appear before you. Butterflies you never saw before will bring joy to every sunny day. Creatures of the darkness will enter your consciousness. And as you take on new techniques and a little new equipment, you will discover new creatures and, with them, new areas of yourself that had gone dormant. Once put to use, they wake up and start working again. You become wilder in your mind and in your heart. Once you know the spells, the wild world begins to appear before you. For anyone who wants to get closer to the nature all around them and bring it back into focus, this is the perfect read.

A breath of fresh air
by Rebecca Frank

This book is about switching off from social media and finding contentment in the here and now – taking time out to enjoy small tasks, connect with other people and enjoy all the beauty of nature throughout the year.A Breath of Fresh Air is structured by seasons, with a focus on finding joy in the natural world. Whether it’s paddling a canoe, spotting swallows on a summer evening, daydreaming on a deckchair, foraging for wild garlic, watching a film at an outdoor cinema or recording the sounds you hear in the forest, there are over 50 creative and imaginative ways to encourage mindfulness and find calm.The book also encourages wellbeing through physical activity, making use of the beautiful places looked after by the National Trust – this ranges from a wander through a bluebell wood, to using nature’s gym to practise yoga or balance on logs, taking up running or playing in the snow. Beautifully illustrated throughout, and with lots of handy tips on where to visit or find ways to wellbeing, this is the perfect book for finding inner contentment in today’s frantic world.

The hedgerow apothecary: recipes, remedies and rituals
by Christine Iverson

Discover how to make delicious preserves, healing balms, soothing toddies and cures for colds with nature’s jewels such as rose hips, elderberries and mugwort. This sustainable and ethical art is also laced with fascinating folklore and steeped in history. With photographs to help you safely identify edible plants, advice on what is available each season and how best to prepare and preserve your finds, this is the essential guide to enjoying the bountiful delights of the hedgerows.

VE Day – 75 years!

Friday 8 May marks 75 years since Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day as it’s better known. The Second World War was finally over as the (slightly modified) act of military surrender was signed on 8 May 1945 in Berlin.

As many others, there had been plans to commemorate this day with street parties, talks and activities in our libraries. But, what better way to remember all those who fought for our freedom, then by showing restraint and do our part in keeping our country safe – and stay home.
It’s a strange time, and whilst it’s not the time to celebrate with neighbours, family and friends, it’s a good time to read about the past, or share stories of why we celebrate VE Day.

Through RBdigital, our eMagazine provider, you can find this month’s issue of BBC History Magazine, which includes a VE Day special! It explores the moment of victory, told through the voices of soldiers and civilians who experienced it.

We’ve also put together a collection of amazing book titles, both fictional and non-fictional, about WWII, that you can download and read and/or listen to through the BorrowBox app – our eBook provider. Featuring such titles as Hampshire at War 1939–45, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Paris Echo, VE Day, Why Britain is at War, The Message Bird, Hitler’s Secret and The Boy in Striped Pyjamas. You can find these, and many more, in the VE Day collection in the BorrowBox app.
Unsure how to download the app? Check out this blog!

Even with our libraries closed, we’ll still be having celebrations happening – just virtually instead of in person. So check out what’s happening at different libraries – and the best part/ It’s online, so even if it’s not your local library you can still tune in!

Over on Facebook Alton library will be celebrating VE day with have a special film review of A Royal Night Out. As well as a general piece about VE Day; what it means and how it was celebrated in Alton, including a recipe for potato scones to wear for your VE Day Virtual Tea Party’ fashion feature!

There will also be a virtual tea party, where everyone is encouraged to share pictures of our tea parties – so head over to their Facebook page to join in this Friday.

Join the staff at Aldershot Library over on their Facebook page as they do a special VE day decoration craft and share printable colouring in sheets.
For adults there will be war poetry recordings, local history link, book readings and book reviews.
Why not share your VE day tea party with them?

Leading up to Friday, you will be able to find some great VE day decoration ideas as well as ideas for creating a ‘stay at home tea-party’.

On the day, you will be able to find some lovely photos of staff’s own decorations, World War Two poetry and book reviews.

Leading up to VE Day, you will find some amazing colouring sheets available to download, all made by a member of staff. Staff will also be taking part in the #GreatBritishBuntingShare – so keep an eye out for different ways of making your own bunting!

On the day, there will be a special guest over one their Facebook page, who will talk about her real-life account of VE Day. If you have any stories to share about VE Day, personal or passed down to you, you’re welcome to share them.

For the younger audience, there will be a special reading from Goodnight Mr Tom, available as both eBook and eAudiobook through the BorrowBox app.

Join the staff of Gosport Discovery Centre over on their Facebook page for some wartime bake off, decorating, bunting making, VE Day stories and a special VE Day craft – ‘How to make a glider’.
Don’t miss the fun!

Leading up to the day, you will be able to find instructions on how to make bunting as well as how to make your windows colourful.
As well as a special VE Day hat craft and a ‘Write a coded message’ activity. Head over to their Facebook page to not miss out on the fun!

Leading up to the day you will be able to find some wonderful craft videos on their Facebook Page, on how to make bunting as well as how to make your own medals.

On the day, at 3pm, there will be a special message from all the staff; so tune in!

On Friday 8 May, Hampshire Archives will be live streaming This is Your Victory on their Facebook page from 11.30am to 12.30pm.
They will also be live streaming Working in the Shadows on their Facebook page – time to be confirmed, so check their events on the day.

And of course we will be sharing as many of these wonderful events, activities and videos over on the Hampshire Libraries Facebook page.

It may not be the VE Day celebration you expected, but with these wonderful books and range of crafts and ideas, we’re sure to all be celebrating together, despite being apart.

World Book Night 2020

World Book Night is a national celebration of reading and books that takes place on 23 April every year. Up and down the country, everyone from libraries, local businesses, health organisations and many more celebrate the difference that reading makes to people’s lives.
World Book Night is run by The Reading Agency, a national charity that tackles life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading.

This year will be a bit different. As many things in 2020, this year’s World Book Night will be digital. They may not be able to do the usual big meet up, but instead they are encouraging the nation to share in the pleasure of enjoying a book – in print, or in audio. Join in their Reading Hour at 7pm, taking time out to read alone or with others. And share a book with family, friends or colleagues, by giving recommendations, encouraging someone to join the library or gifting a book. 

We’re very pleased to tell you, that you will be able to find 20 of the titles as eBooks and/or eAudiobooks through the BorrowBox app – the Hampshire Libraries’ eBook provider. Have a look at this year’s titles below, and why not share what book you will be reading on Thursday 23 April; will it be one of these, or are you reading something different?
Tell us in the comments section below!

Will you join in on the #ReadingHour at 7pm on Thursday 23 April?