Library Camp Glasgow: Reader development

5 Dec
Photo: Lynn Corrigan

Photo: Lynn Corrigan

This session was pitched by Wendy Kirk, Librarian at Glasgow Women’s Library, as a way of finding out what other libraries are doing in terms of reader development.  It was a chance for people to share experiences, and to be inspired by examples of best practice and new ideas. Wendy’s notes from the session follow.

I started the session by chatting about what Glasgow Women’s Library is doing at the moment, with a focus on our weekly read aloud Read, Relax, Recharge group. This group is very much focused on the concept of reading for wellbeing and relaxation, and is very sociable (group members bring and share their lunch and there is always lots of tea!) The group is particularly popular with older women, who have expressed how important it is to them in terms of company and the chance to ‘get out for a few hours.’

At the session, people talked about the importance of evaluating the impact of reader development activities, and how best to capture this. As well as simply logging numbers attending, for example, book groups, it is crucial to get qualitative feedback. Often this is vital for funding. Someone suggested a questionnaire that the Literacy Trust use, which is about people’s self-perception as readers.  You do the questionnaire at the start of someone’s reading journey, and then again once they have been, for example,  attending a book group, to see if their self-perception has changed.

Other suggestions of good practice or sources of information included:

  • National Reader Development Network – open for anyone to join
  • Scottish Poetry Library – their work with doctors on the concept of ‘nothing but the poem’
  • ‘Sell a book’ – encourage people to bring in their favourite book and ‘sell’ it at an event or book group
  • ‘Best book award’ – get your book group to vote for the book that they’ve liked the most at the group, or get them to rate each book after reading it
  • LGBT book group at Hillhead library (Glasgow Life) – this group started off reading LGBT texts only but is now mixing these with mainstream texts

People also talked about sharing book recommendations that are particularly good for using with groups, and came up with the following suggestions:

The session showed how much is going on in libraries! A great session full of interesting practice and generous sharing of ideas.

Reader development session. Photo: Lynn Corrigan

Reader development session. Photo: Lynn Corrigan

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