Sunday, December 26, 2010

Booktrust, a hopeful report

Confused message...or change of heart?
Last week Booktrust was told by the Department for Education that funding for bookgifting programmes in England - Bookstart, Booktime and Booked Up - would be cut by 100% from 1 April 2011.
But Booktrust chief executive Viv Bird told BBC News that, in a conversation on Sunday morning, Education Secretary Michael Gove had "committed his support for Booktrust book-gifting programmes so that every child will continue to have access to the gift of a book".
She said that the charity would hold talks with the government in the new year about the level of continued public funding.
A joint statement from the DfE and Booktrust said the department would "continue to fund Booktrust book-gifting programmes in the future".
It said: "Although the current contract will end in April, the department are talking to Booktrust about how to develop a new programme which will ensure that every child can enjoy the gift of books at crucial moments in their lives while ensuring we develop an even more effective way of supporting the most disadvantaged families to read together."
The book-gifting schemes have previously been universal, including families that can afford to buy books, because the charity says targeted programmes struggle to reach all families most in need.
Booktrust says that, through support by publishing companies, it has been able to generate another £4 for every £1 of government money.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

House of Illustration news

House of Illustration raises £59,000 at Sotheby's
(from the House of Illustrations news) We’re delighted to announce that last week’s English Literature, History and Children’s Books and Illustrations sale at Sotheby’s raised £59,000 for the House of Illustration.
Some 28 leading contemporary illustrators donated works to the auction to benefit the House of Illustration, including Eric Carle, Raymond Briggs, Oliver Jeffers, Quentin Blake, Axel Scheffler, Sara Fanelli and Peter Brookes.The works were exhibited prior to the auction in the Colonnade Gallery at Sotheby’s, alongside pieces from private collections by Beatrix Potter, E.H. Shepard, Edmund Dulac and Pauline Baynes which formed a special ‘Art of Illustration’ exhibition.
A late entry to the sale were two illustrations from 'A Christmas Carol’, drawn by Quentin Blake at the sale’s private view earlier that week. In a very special festive performance, House of Illustration Ambassador Peter Capaldi read excerpts from Dickens’s novel, while Quentin Blake illustrated Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present live.We’d like to thank everyone at Sotheby’s, John Jones, and all the illustrators who contributed works to the sale.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bookstart funding crisis

Booktrust is to lose all government funding for its bookgifting programmes in England from 1st April next year.
The book charity's bookgifting programmes, Bookstart, Booktime and Booked Up, received £13m from the Department for Education last year. This sum was used to generate a further £56m-worth of sponsorship from publishing partners and corporate sponsors.Booktrust chief executive Viv Bird said: "We are immensely surprised and disappointed by this decision and know that families, teachers, librarians, health visitors, our publishing partners and many others up and down the country will be sharing these feelings." She added: "We passionately believe in these programmes and the proven extraordinary transformative power of reading for pleasure. We will be consulting with our partners and exploring alternative funding opportunities to do our utmost to make sure that every child continues to be given the opportunity to develop a lifelong love of books."Bookstart is a national programme that gives a free pack of books to babies, and guidance materials to parents and carers. Booktime promotes reading aloud with children, and Booked Up aims to give a free book to every child starting secondary school in England.
Booktrust stressed that the cut applies to England only.

The former children's laureate Michael Rosen has expressed his utter dismay at the news.

The Guardian has covered it in its third leader today, 23 December.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Old Possum's Children's Poetry Competition

“A delight to witness very young writers discovering the power and the joy of language.”*
The judges of the Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition, led by Chair Roger McGough, have selected twelve children as winners of the Competition, with a further eight receiving high commendations. The judges awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes to children in two age groups (7-8 and 9-11).
This international Poetry Competition, now in its fifth year, is run by the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf, a poetry book club for young people run by the Poetry Book Society. To link with National Poetry Day on Thursday 7 October, children aged 7-11 were invited to submit poems on the theme of ‘Home’.
The partnership with the British Council boosted entries to the ‘International Learners’ category for children based outside the UK who are learning English as a foreign or second language. In total, well over 3,000 entries were received from schools and individual children worldwide, nearly a quarter of which were from 31 countries other than the UK.
*Roger McGough said:
“’Home' proved to be a fruitful subject for this year's crop of young poets and the judges relished those poems in which the child's imagination was let loose. More than attention to domestic detail, the sounds and smells, the furnishings, the judges relished those poems in which the child's imagination was let loose. Above all, it was a delight to witness very young writers discovering the power and the joy of language.”
The CPB held a wonderful gala celebration and prize-giving on Friday 10 December at the Drill Hall theatre in London, hosted by poets Roger McGough and James Carter, both of whom were also judges of the competition. The winning young poets were presented with their cash and book prizes and read their poems to an enthralled audience of friends, family, teachers and children from local schools. A booklet containing the children’s winning poems was given to every audience member. The winning poems are featured on the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf website at and on the British Council’s website at
The Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition is generously supported by Old Possum’s Practical Trust.

Monday, December 13, 2010

from Public Libraries News

Saturday, 11 December 2010

800 to 1000 libraries may be under threat.
311 libraries plus 20 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed. Being the list below of individual authorities represents around one-third of those in the UK, that could mean perhaps 800 to 1000 libraries could be under threat when all budget proposals are announced*. Tim Coates today announced he was in "despair" at this news. CILIP have been active behind the scenes and have promised action in the next week to publicise the plight of public libraries. Ed Vaizey, the minister responsible for libraries has written this week to each council to remind them that libraries are a statutory service. Most councils decide their budgets for 2011/12 in February so, if you too are concerned by a proposed cut in funding for libraries in your authority, there is not much time left to let your councillor/MP/Minister know.*Thanks to Desmond Clarke for pointing this out.
Birmingham - Tower Hill library may close, protests begin - Walsall Advertiser
Doncaster - reaction to the cuts - Save Doncaster Libraries
Dorset - Public consultation on closure of 20 (out of 34) libraries - Dorset Echo
Gloucestershire - campaign to save Matson Library - This is Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire - local council meetings fail to sell the message of closures - Friends of Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire - deathblow to libraries? - Ruscombe Green
Gloucestershire - messages of support for libraries, inc. video - Friends of Gloucestershire
Highland - Wick Library to close, new one in school outside of town centre - John O'Groats Journal
Leicestershire - privatisation for libraries and/or co-location - Lutterworth Mail
Leicestershire - Concern at cuts - BBC
North Yorkshire - Gargrave and Grassington could be community-run, only big towns to have a library - Craven Herald and Pioneer
Oxfordshire - the news on libraries is awful so how bad will cuts be for other services? - Oxford Mail
Oxfordshire - more cuts to be announced (goodbye Oxford Literary Festival?) - BBC
Oxfordshire - Campaigners, including MP and Phllip Pullman, protest at cuts - Oxford Mail
Sandwell - doing well - Halesownen News (yippee!)
Wandsworth - your chance to take part in consultation - Wandsworth Council
Warrington - Phone Box as Library - Warrington GuardianWest Sussex - Cuts to libraries to be discussed next week - Argus.
This article suggests at least some libraries will be either closed or given to volunteers - Chichester Observer.
Wigan - did you know our library is in danger of closing? - Standish Talk
MLA "It's not the libraries that matter" Future Libraries Programme Newsletter - MLA
Tim Coates despairs - Good Library Blog
Reading Agency shows power of youth volunteering in libraries - Alan Gibbons
Arts Council (soon to be responsible for libraries) under fire - London Evening Standard
Plea for councillors not to cave into "middle class lobbyists" in favour of libraries - Public Finance
Councils to be told how much their funding will be cut early next week - Daily Telegraph - libraries mentioned several times in article as amongst those services most likely to close.
Eric Pickles seems more concerned about Winterval than the cuts - Guardian
Localism Bill - closed library? community groups may get first right of refusal on the building - BBCChoose a library for the Guardian to look at and, possibly, save - Guardian - A significant proportion of the comments after the article are in favour of closing libraries.
Kate Mosse in defence of libraries - Guardian
Aberdeenshire - some
Angus - 4 libraries closed this year (April) to be possibly replaced by a mobile
Argyll and Bute - 3 libraries and mobile library.Barking and Dagenham - 5
Barnet - some - public consultation hereBarnsley - up to 8Bedfordshire - 1 mobile to go Birmingham - 40
Bolton - Up to 8
Brent - 6 (out of 12)
Bristol - some may be staffed by volunteers
Buckinghamshire - up to 14 to close or be staffed by volunteers
Cambridgeshire - some
Camden - several plus one mobile library
(£2 million cut)Central Bedfordshire - one mobile library to go
Cornwall - up to 23
Croydon - 1 (local studies)
Devon - (mobile stops cut)
Doncaster - 13,
(may also be taken out of council control)Dorset - up to 20 (out of 34) to close or be given to community groups
Dumfries - 7
Flintshire - 5
and at least one mobileGloucestershire - Up to 25 and 6 mobiles - 11 to close or go to volunteers. 7 to close if they don't find a partner. A further 11 reduced to 3.5 hours a week (this is just a small figure I include them under "closed"), 6 mobile libraries to go. Hampshire - (58 FTE jobs to go)
(and mobile library review)
(libraries merged with IT/property etc)Harrow - (34 FTE to go)
Hartlepool - 1 confirmed to close (another to merge with community centre, all library's hours cut)
Hertfordshire - (opening hours to be cut by one third - from 2236 hours down to 1575) - At least one library (Borehamwood) faces a 40% cut
Highland - (Wick Library to close and merge with school library)
Hounslow - (12 FTE to go, 1 IT skills suite closed)
Isle of Wight - up to 10 (out of 11)
Kirklees - at least 1
Leeds - Up to 20 (out of 52)
Leicestershire - all libraries could be privatised, put to trust or shared
(merge of lending/reference- 14 FTE jobs lost)
Lewisham - 5
Milton Keynes - 2
Newport - 7
Northumberland - some
North Norfolk - some (c. £1m reduction)
North Somerset - 1 closed, 2 proposed.
Weston Mercury updateNorth Yorkshire - 24 to close or be staffed by volunteers, 9 mobiles to go off road.
Nottingham - (80 FTE jobs to go, 75% off bookfund,
30 libraries have less opening hours)
Oldham - (increase in volunteers, merging, cuts)
Oxfordshire - 20 - list of those under threat
hereRedbridge - 5 out of 12 may close, another may relocate.
Renfrewshire - (2 libraries to move into smaller sites in community centres)
Richmond - 1
Rochdale - (some library managers to to go in first phase of cuts)
Sefton - 3
Sheffield - (30% cut expected)
Shropshire - 1 (reference library to merge with central library)
Somerset - several. 7 libraries have reduced opening hours until decision made/jobs freeze.
Stoke - 2 and 1 mobile library,
(ends RNIB service)
Suffolk - up to 2
Tower Hamlets - (staff made to reapply for their own jobs -23 library staff replaced)
Wakefield - "several"
Walsall - at least 8 (30 FTE).
More details here Wandsworth - 1 plus reduction in hours in others
Warrington - 2 and 1 mobile library
West Sussex - Some (5 FTE lost, some librarians pay reduced to library assistant)
Wigan - Up to 15 out of 17
(£1.1m cut off £4m budget)Wiltshire - (26 FTE posts to go inc. 9 out of 13 community librarians)
Posted 11 Dec

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Blue Peter Book Awards 2011 shortlist

Best Book with Facts:
Do Igloos Have Loos? by Mitchell Symons (Doubleday)
How the World Works by Christiane Dorion, illustrated by Beverley Young, pop-ups designed by Andy Mansfield (Templar Publishing)
What You Need To Know Now: The World in Facts, Stats, and Graphics by Joe Fullman, Ian Graham, Sally Regan and Isabel Thomas, illustrated by Sheila Collins, Mik Gates, Jim Green, Katie Knutton, Phillip Letsu and Hoa Luc (Dorling Kindersley)
Most Fun Story with Pictures:
Alienography by Chris Riddell (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Mr Gum and the Cherry Tree by Andy Stanton, illustrated by David Tazzyman (Egmont)
Lunatics and Luck (The Raven Mysteries) by Marcus Sedgwick, illustrated by Pete Williamson (Orion Children’s Books)
Favourite Stories:
Dead Man's Cove (A Laura Marlin Mystery) by Lauren St John (Orion Children’s Books)
A Web of Air (Mortal Engines) by Philip Reeve (Scholastic Children’s Books)
Tall Story by Candy Gourlay (David Fickling Books)
The final nine books will now be judged by a selection of young Blue Peter viewers. They will decide the winners in each category and the overall winner of Blue Peter Book of the Year 2011 which will be announced in March 2011.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Campaign for the Book : open letter

(Contact Alan Gibbons:
Mobile: 07889981739)
Open letter to Jeremy Hunt MP and Ed Vaizey MP,
Ministers at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport
Dear Jeremy Hunt and Ed Vaizey,
Library users and staff across the country are increasingly concerned at the implications of the Comprehensive Spending Review. Over 250 library closures have been announced. Some, for example those in Oxfordshire and Lewisham, are in areas involved in the pilot of the Future Libraries Programme which promised: “A strong library service, based around the needs of local people, can play a key role in our ambitions to build the Big Society by providing safe and inclusive spaces for people to read, learn and access a range of community services.”When the then Secretary of State Andy Burnham hesitated over halting Wirral’s attempted closure of half its libraries just over a year ago, Ed Vaizey said: "If Andy Burnham is not prepared to intervene
when library provision is slashed in a local authority such as the Wirral, it is clear that he is gnoring his responsibilities as secretary of state.” Andy Burnham did, of course, change his mind under pressure after several months. Now cuts approaching the scale of those in the Wirral are
being repeated across the country, not only in Oxfordshire and Lewisham, but Buckinghamshire, Nottinghamshire, Leeds, Brent, Gloucestershire and many, many more. Ed Vaizey has written to councils reminding them of their duty under the 1964 Libraries and Museums Act to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ service. It is becoming commonplace for councils to close up to half their library branch networks. It would be inconsistent if the DCMS did not superintend councils acting as unjustifiably as Wirral, preventing the slashing of services. We call on the DCMS not to ignore its responsibilities. We ask you to act in the spirit of the 1964 Act and prevent councils inflicting cuts which amount to cultural vandalism.
Yours sincerely,
Alan Gibbons
Organiser, the Campaign for the Book
The following authors, illustrators, poets, publishers, librarians, teachers, journalists, agents, screenwriters, translators, film producers and general readers have signed the petition:
Philip Pullman, Kate Mosse, Michael Holroyd, Peter Dickinson, Barry Cryer, Carol Ann Duffy,
Bonnie Greer, Kathy Lette
“Closing our libraries will make us a nation of numbskulls – theIlliterati.” Kathy Lette.
Julia Donaldson, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Michael Rosen, Jackie Kay, Kwei Armah, Malorie Blackman, Beverley Naidoo, Joan Bakewell, Terry Jones, Lisa Appignanesi, President English PEN, Mark Le Fanu, Society of Authors, Simon Brett, Anne Chisholm, Chair, Royal Society of Literature, Tricia Adams, Director, School Library Association, Biddy Fisher, Cilip President,
Duncan Wright, School Librarian of the Year, 2010, Gillian Cross, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Nicola Morgan,Tim Bowler, Christine Blower, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers, Tony Bradman, David Nicholls, Celia Rees, Jeremy Strong, Korky Paul, Bali Rai, Bernard Ashley
AND MANY HUNDREDS MORE including the Carousel team.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Ramion Children's Story Collection Competition

The Ramion competition which was run Carousel is now closed. Congratulations to Lisa Backhouse, who has won the 14 Ramion stories, signed and dedicated to her by Frank Hinks.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


There was fun and excitement at the Kids Lit Quiz Finals™, held in Oxford Town Hall on 30 November, when the cream of our young readers came together from 13 regions around the country (extreme weather conditions prevented 2 teams from joining in) to compete for the Kids' Lit Quiz™ coveted cup.
Children’s author, actor and comedian Charlie Higson, creator of the Young Bond series and new zombie thriller series The Enemy, led almost 30 children’s authors to congratulate the winners from the regions and to support them as they answered questions on children's literature put to them by KLQ's dynamic quizmaster, Wayne Mills.
The atmosphere at a Kids’ Lit Quiz™ heat has been compared to “a pub quiz without the beer”, marked by high stakes – the teams knew that the UK winners will travel to New Zealand next July for a 20th BIRTHDAY INTERNATIONAL CELEBRATION QUIZ. Half way through the quiz, Wayne Mills announced that to mark the special anniversary the runners-up would also win the chance to compete in New Zealand. This was fortunate because two teams achieved exactly the same score. They then had to take part in ‘a sudden death’ competition – getting the best of three challenging questions correct – to win the finals. Two other teams also had to battle for third and fourth place because they had clocked up the same number of points.
In the end the results were:First – Cockermouth School (UK champions) (photograph of the four team members with Wayne Mills (in top hat) and Charlie Higson and holding cup) Second – Bristol Grammar School (English champions) (photograph of the four team members with Wayne Mills (in top hat) and Charlie Higson) . (For some reason the pics have Bristol as the first pic and Cockermouth as the second...they were meant to be the other way round!)
(Both teams have won a place to compete in the 20th Birthday International Celebration Quiz in New Zealand)