Librarian Rachel Ingle-Teare has the lowdown on the repoening of Leeds Central Library and Leeds Libraries summer programme of activities.
Leeds Central Library is back open and we are thrilled the public can return to our much loved Grade II* listed building once again. This is the first in the re-opening programme that offers book shelf browsing for our customers. You can now drop off your returned library books, pick up books that have been reserved through Order & Collect as well as browse the shelves to choose your next read. We also have a selection of Community Hub and Libraries dotted around the city open with limited services such as book returns, collections and computers. You can find all the details of your nearest library and the services available on our website.
A close second to browsing books at Leeds Central Library is the brilliant Order and Collect service. You can delve into the online library catalogue to find the books you want or you can do this via the updated library app, which has lots of great new features. My particular favourite is being able to have multiple library accounts in one place, perfect for families! If browsing the catalogue online isn’t for you or you just want to talk to a real person about books, we also have a new Order and Collect phone line and email where you can get support with choosing and reserving books from our knowledgeable librarians. When your books have arrived at your chosen open library, we’ll be in touch to let you know they are ready for you to pop down to pick them up. On arrival you’ll go through the building on a one way circuit to the collection point where you'll be handed a lovely brown paper bag filled with your books. Trust me it feels like such a treat to receive and best of all its free!
Our family Summer programme is packed with online activities including a book themed Lego Club, Code Club, a bespoke programme of theatre performances and daily storytimes from our favourite authors, illustrators and storytellers. Your children can also take part in this year’s online Summer Reading Challenge with the theme 'Silly Squad' which celebrates funny books, happiness and laughter. There are so many ways to get involved and keep them reading for free over the summer. We have Borrowbox filled we eBooks and eAudio books for children and young people, which includes a Silly Squad collection of titles that offers unlimited downloads. So you can read or listen to any of these books without waiting. We also have loanable online comics and graphic novels, as well as the brilliant Order and Collect service (mentioned above) for anyone who just wants to read a paper book with all those wonderful pages to turn.
Leeds Libraries have plenty going on for adults too, with book clubs, drawing challenges, talks and more! Even though we can't gather in person we can online and we love talking to people about books! You can join in with our monthly virtual book club, and download the title from Borrowbox. For more details on what we are reading this month go to our Leeds Reads blog. We also love receiving book recommendations and you can help us to grow our virtual book shelf of what we’re all reading in Leeds by taking a picture and sending it to us including #LeedsReadsBookshelf.
Another favourite is our weekly #LeedsDropInAndDraw. Every Thursday we share books from our art collections and ask you to respond with drawings via our social media channels. A recent highlight was our feature on tattoos as we reminisced over our stall at last year’s Leeds Tattoo Expo. Where we shared beautiful drawings and illustrations from our unique collections to tattoo enthusiasts looking for inspiration. As part of this Drop in and Draw, Librarians shared their tattoos that they have had done inspired by some of our most beautiful collections. From depictions of mythical beasts, incredibly anatomical drawings, Tolkienesque renderings of Yorkshire rivers, botanical illustrations and much more
Leeds Libraries want to make sure we stay connected to our communities through hosting a series of Tech Talks which is perfect for people who want to find out more about digital and tech. We have worked with The British Library, Leeds Museums and Galleries, theatre companies and experts from the Leeds digital and creative sectors. Each talk provides a unique perspective on the many possibilities available to us all through our connection with technology and by working together. Each talk also welcomes a librarian, sharing information about our many free resources available.
Other highlights to mention are our heritage features on social media every week with #RareBookOfTheWeek and #ThrowbackThursday celebrating items that may have been hidden in our stacks and the stories behind them. Our wonderful Local and Family History Librarians have also been working on the Covid Diaries. It’s difficult to think too far ahead right now, but one day we will all look back on the impact of Coronavirus as a significant part of the history of Leeds.
Take some time to look at Studio12 and their excellent free creative media resources for young people. 2020 saw the release of their stunning short film The Waiting Room from the Writing Britain series. The Waiting Room is a Writing Britain short, written and performed by Bradford award-winning spoken word Poet Asma Elbadawi, it explores the issues caused by anxiety.
The best way to keep up to date with the latest library news is through our social media channels @leedslibraries or sign up to the Leeds Libraries newsletter. If you have any questions or want to use the Order and Collect service contact email@example.com or 0113 378 5005.