Love Your Library – the Hampshire Library podcast

Are you an avid reader?  Keen to be inspired for your next book?  You’ll love our new podcast series which is free to download and subscribe.  You’ll find two episodes to download straightaway which feature interviews with Shetland and Vera author Ann Cleeves and AGA-saga queen Joanna Trollope.  You’ll also hear book recommendations from our library staff at Chandlers Ford and Fareham. Our hosts Kate and Mary are both keen book lovers who’ve worked for Hampshire County Council for more years than they’d care to admit. 

Here’s links to the books discussed in each episode:

Island Life
In this episode, our hosts Kate Price McCarthy and Mary Stone talk to Ann Cleeves about her latest and, can we bear it, last Shetland book, Wild Fire.  Ann also gives us the lowdown on her upcoming book The Long Call, the first in her new Two Rivers series. 

They discussed three very different books with Chandlers Ford Library:
The Key to Flambards by Linda Newbery
The One by John Marrs  
The Summer Book  by Tove Jansson

Other books mentioned include:
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Tempest by William Shakespeare
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

Match Fit
In this episode, our hosts Kate Price McCarthy and Mary Stone talk to Joanna Trollope about her latest and twenty-first book, An Unsuitable Match, which vividly depicts the family tensions and dilemmas caused by love in later life. Joanna also talks about her updated version of Sense and Sensibility published as part of the Austen Project in 2013.

They discussed three recommended books with the library team at Fareham Library:
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Never Greener by Ruth Jones

Other books mentioned include:
The Warden by Anthony Trollope
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid
Emma by Alexander McCall Smith
Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Emma by Jane Austen
Lady Susan by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen

Do let us know if you’ve read and enjoyed any of the books we’ve talked about. 

A Celebration of 2017 at Hampshire Libraries!

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

Summer Reading Challenge 2017

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

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

The Makery Spaces

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

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

Jane Austen 200

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

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

Winchester Discovery Centre’s 10th Birthday

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

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

1 Millionth eBook and eAudiobook Download

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

DOTS iPad Lending Service

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

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

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

Micro:bit Lending

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

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

Libraries Week

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

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

 

Claire Tomalin Coming to Winchester

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

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

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

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

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

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

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin
The unequalled self is the astonishing biography of Samuel Pepys by bestselling author Claire Tomalin
2002 WHITBREAD BOOK OF THE YEAR

 

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

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

 

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

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

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

book cover

About the book

Six people – five women and a man – meet once a month in California’s Central Valley to discuss Jane Austen’s novels. They are ordinary people, neither happy nor unhappy, but each of them is wounded in different ways, they are all mixed up about their lives and relationships. Over the six months they meet, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable – under the guiding eye of Jane Austen a couple of them even fall in love…

Reviewed by U3A Book Circle No 2:

A good proportion of the book is taken up with the life stories of those who attend the group. These are only moderately interesting. However, the use of quotations from Jane Austen’s novels is aptly done and the responses of her family and other writers are fascinating when they give their opinions about the books.

Star rating: ***

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

About the book

Pride and Prejudice, which opens with one of the most famous sentences in English Literature, is an ironic novel of manners. In it the garrulous and empty-headed Mrs Bennet has only one aim – that of finding a good match for each of her five daughters. In this she is mocked by her cynical and indolent husband. With its wit, its social precision and, above all, its irresistible heroine, Pride and Prejudice has proved one of the most enduringly popular novels in the English language.

Reviewed by Between the Leaves reading group:

Everything you could wish for in a novel. Funny, romantic and moving. Gets better each time you read it.

Star rating: ****
 

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Persuasion by Jane Austen

About the book

Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Reviewed by Blackwater Valley U3A reading group:

Slow moving and wordy but well written. Not very original and some of the characters were uninteresting although some, e g Sir Walter were amusing. Not as good as some of her other novels.

Star rating: **

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