I went up to sunny Preston this weekend, where there was a networking day for writers and librarians. I got there late, due to not sleeping well the previous night; but apart from some introductory remarks, I don't seem to have missed much.
It was good to realise that there are people in libraries trying to promote writing and reading, even within budget constraints. I met people from Wigan, Bolton, Bury, Tameside, Cheshire and other parts of the North-West - as well as a few writers I've never met before. And someone I've met before that I'd forgotten I'd met. Apologies to her - I seem to have senior moments with gay abandon these days.
We came up with some nice ideas - including one for a kind of poetry tribute band - called perhaps "Huge Ted?" - to read favourite poems by other writers. Poetry's often put on a pedestal in many ordinary readers' minds - one it doesn't have for poets themselves - and they feel scared by it. Breaking down those barriers is always difficult, challenging and necessary. I'll have to follow up some of these contacts, do some kind of project - especially with my new book coming out, these contacts are invaluable.
Libraries have always been tremendously important for me - sources of good books, information, even computors these days. And records, CDs etc. It seems that some libraries at least are trying their best to encourage new readers and bring people into the sometimes imposing buildings that a lot of libraries still seem. I'm in one now - an elegant Edwardian local library that is both well-preserved and well-used.
I should have taken some books - unfortunately, out in a rush and all that, they stayed at home, apart from my reading copu.