Libraries Week

From 4th – 11th of October its Libraries Week – a celebration of libraries across the country and the roles they play in our communities.

Libraries are safe spaces for everyone in the community to come together, meet, learn and try new things, as well as borrow books. They are spaces which champion inclusion, social mobility and connection — where everyone should feel welcome and looked after. The social glue of our community, Libraries bring people from different backgrounds, abilities and ages together under one roof.

At Human Libraries, we have been inviting artists into Sefton’s Library spaces to collectively imagine and produce new creative works and projects with library-users since 2018. 

For this week’s theme is ‘Taking Action and Changing Lives’ — we wanted to highlight some of the special moments we’ve shared over the years, stories of local people, as well as say thanks to some of the people who have helped us shape Human Libraries.

Rita Anderson’s story

Part of our “Human Library voices” – a series of podcasts sharing the stories of the incredible people of Bootle – we spoke with Rita Anderson, who played an instrumental role in setting up playgroups in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. During this time, Rita helped to create spaces for not only children, but local mothers, to meet and provide autonomy outside of the household and marriage. She talks to our participation producer Laura about this and her feelings as a woman, daughter, mother, wife and playgroup leader during this period. 

Listen to Rita’s story here.

OUR VOLUNTEERS AND COLLABORATORS: VICKY & WIL 

Over the last few months, we’ve been really thankful to have volunteers and collaborators supporting the Human Libraries programme and steering our activity. They’ve been helping us take action and share their knowledge with others. Vicky has been helping share her cooking skills with others supporting Chopping Club and Wil Goodwin will share his local foraging knowledge as part of our next Chopping Club on October 14th. 

Fancy coming foraging with us? Find out more information about joining us here.

FRESHLY CUT GRASS 

During 2020’s restrictions, our focus was to keep our community connected taking our project into hybrid spaces and online. Artist Frances Disley created Freshly Cut Grass, a series of meditative imaginary journeys for people to use whilst we all had to stay indoors for a bit. With different versions for morning, afternoon and night time, the journey’s were designed to calm the mind and aid relaxation – at whatever time was best for the listener. 

After delivering packs with CD’s, printed journeys, bespoke scents, and herbal tea bags — we received some beautiful feedback about how the CD’s helped one of our community members:

“The first night, I listened to the first two journeys and obviously went to sleep, and I do wake up in the night, that is one of my main problems, but then when I woke up at 4 o’clock, I put it on again and I went back to sleep again! So for me this is wonderful, it’s just fantastic, it’s working for me definitely. It’s the voice, it’s the CD, it’s all very calming and very imaginative as well — you sort of put yourself into the position and you block everything else out – so, thank you!”

Why not take 10 minutes and go on your own imaginary journey today? Assess Freshly Cut Grass here.

We’d love to hear about your favourite moments in the library, or a story about how the library or a person from your community has inspired you to take action and changed your life — even if it’s only in a small way.