Saturday, 11 October 2014

Guernsey's Book Week: friendships, laughter and plans

Alex Scarrow
Ann Bryant
Kathryn Cave

Over the last 16 years Guernsey's Schools' Library Service (new website coming soon!) has hosted Book Week. Once a year we spend the week taking 3 authors around to our schools and every year they see nearly 5,000 children. I have met some really interesting, inspiring, sometimes unusual and extraordinary authors but all have brought something special to the children of Guernsey.

This is the first year that, although I did not arrange it from the beginning, as I took over from my predecessor half way through, that I had the opportunity to make some decisions. Now I was very lucky as the stage was set and all I had to do was follow the plan. The three authors that were booked this year, Kathryn Cave Alex Scarrow and Ann Bryant were a collective choice by my colleagues from SLS. We usually put some names forward and the Head of Services sees what she can book. I can't remember an unsuccessful week but we have had weeks where not all the authors got on with each other which was interesting and very funny looking back on it. Rather difficult at the time, though. There is always an element of the unknown bringing together three people that don't know each other and expecting them to spend a week with each other. The authors are busy during the day but are left to their own devices in the evenings.Luckily all three authors this year were lovely and got on really well with each other. 

Kathryn went to the infant schools, Ann to the Junior and Alex to the Secondary. All three are very different but equally entertaining in their own way. It is a full on week for them, 3 sessions a day for 5 days but they have access to a librarian who drives them from school to school and there is the occasional site seeing trip if there is time. We do it this way so that throughout the week all our librarians get to meet the authors and see them perform but also getting around Guernsey can be a little tricky so taking them from place to place allows them a relatively stress free week.

The extra that I added this year was asking the authors to come to the children's library at the Guille-Alles public Library to do a 'meet the author' session. They all did an hour at the end of the day and some children really benefited from getting up close to the authors. All were happy to give it a go but there was not a huge amount of interest. I will be prepared for it next time and my marketing strategy will be much better. I now realise that I needed to be more pro-active. Also the infant author was relying on the parents to come down after school when it was probably their teatime and it can be a bad time of day for little ones.  It was easier for the junior and secondary authors as they could encourage children who were listening to their talks to ask their parents to bring them to the library and being a little older it didn't matter. 

A lot of interesting conversations were had this year about what to do next and I really hope that some of it comes to fruition. Knowing the characters involved I see that none if us are going to let our plans slide if we can help it.

I really look forward to working with these three amazing authors again soon.

Here are some photo's taken on the Thursday evening event Thanks Rachel!

This is me and Laura Milligan who is Chief Librarian of the Guille-Alles Library

Jodie, Tiffany Library Assistants for SLS  and Alpha from the Press Book Shop

Alex Scarrow doing his thing!

Kathryn Cave with one of her many fans!

Alex with his fans too :)

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