Yesterday there was an article about Horrible Histories author Terry Deary on the Guardian books page, in which he was quoted as saying that libraries are effectively past it. I disagree with that view, and wanted to address some of his points. You can read the article here if you haven’t seen it yet. His original comments are in the Sunderland Echo.
My life isn’t all about testing new methods of reading, oh no. I have a day job as well, and sometimes I get to forgo my lunch break there in order to attend glitzy media events as part of my freelance journalism career.
I say sometimes, but I actually mean this one time – last Tuesday, as a matter of fact. The event in question was the official announcement of the shortlisted authors up for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards, organised by the Scottish Book Trust and held at the Scottish Storytelling Centre – which is conveniently just up the road from my current temp job.
The Scottish Book Trust are rather wonderful, I have to say. They get children in every school across Scotland to vote in these awards, and two of the judges who whittled down the long list to the short were school kids themselves. Precocious ones, at that – I salute you, Lorna and Daniel, for some spectacularly verbose speechifying. I can only hope I was that erudite at thirteen (I wasn’t).
Oh, and I have to draw attention to the fact that the other judge, Duncan Wright, was voted school librarian of the year 2010. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a thing when I was in school, but I love the idea. I wonder if you can nominate librarians after the fact? Mine is retired now, but still fabulous. I shall have to look into that. School librarian lifetime achievement award in the post for S. Webb…
Anyway, the Scottish Book Trust do all sorts of amazing bits and pieces to get kids reading and to support Scottish authors; so having worked with kids and currently being a writer I feel totally justified in waxing sycophantic about them. Back in my past life as a library person I was an ambassador for their Bookstart Rhymetime sessions (now called Bookbug), which means I have an extensive repertoire of nursery rhymes available to sing at a moment’s notice, not to mention some pretty sweet moves. This is clearly one of the best life skills I have, although I still have questions about Peter Rabbit’s curly whiskers.*
I went along to this on behalf of The Edinburgh Reporter, and you can read my article about it here. It borrows a bit from the press release because as I had to go back to work I couldn’t really hang about getting interviews. As I said before, the world of freelance journalism is tres glamorous. But with any luck 12 books will make me a literary star and one day freelance-temps will be re-writing press releases about how I was nominated for this award.
Better go do some writing, then…
*animals like rabbits have whiskers to help them measure spaces so they never get stuck – surely a curly whisker is no use for that?