Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Some author visit experiences are great

On Saturday I had one of my best experiences ever doing a reading. I had been invited to Walkden library for a morning session. For those of you who don't know, Walkden is just south of Bolton, one of those little Lancashire towns that are now part of the Greater Manchester conurbation, and part of Salford local authority. It wasn't very likely that anyone who didn't live there would come to the reading, so for once there seemed no point in my spending time and energy promoting it myself. So, frankly, I wasn't expecting an awful lot in the way of an audience.

I could not have been more surprised. Walkden library turned out to be newly rehoused in a large glass building, Gateway House (which even Google doesn't know: to begin with, I went with my Google map to the little old brick building, now abandoned, a bit further out of town), and it shares this building with the NHS, which creates a real community hub. And it's an absolutely beautiful library, wonderfully equipped with extra rooms filled with light, and because the library service shares the reception staff with the NHS, the library staff are freerer than is traditional to concentrate on the more creative side of their job. Library Manager Chris Carson, it turned out, is busy establishing several reading groups, and it turned out that two of these had read both my Salt books. I arrived to discover that as a result, and also because he had designed beautiful leaflets and posters and promoted the reading, I had an audience of thirty, in a small town, in the middle of a Saturday morning! And not only that - a lovely, interested audience with deep questions to ask me about my work.

Thank you so much to that audience, and to Chris, and also to Sarah Coyne, the Reader Development Officer, who invited me in the first place. And thank you to Chris for the photo above, and the one below which shows the posters he made.


Tania Hershman said...

How wonderful! And very inspiring. I am meeting two library book groups in the next few months, and maybe more. I have no idea what to expect but your lovely experience has led me to hope for more than I might have thought!

Elizabeth Baines said...

I hope they're as good, Tania!