Book Buzz.

What’s happening at your local library?

It’s National Bookstart Week from 4th to 10th June. Aimed at encouraging a love of books in children under 5, all Devon libraries will have a limited number of free books to give away. This year’s book is ‘A Busy Day For Birds’ by Lucy Cousins (Famous for ‘Maisy Mouse’). There will also be some colouring-in and crafts to go with the theme.

Appledore Library are teaming up with the Poppins Parent and Toddler Group on Monday 4th June from 10-11am and will have a special storytime, music and crafts session at the library, then it’s back to St Mary’s Hall for snacks and playtime 11am-12pm.

Northam Library will have their Bounce and Rhyme session Monday 4th June from 9:15-9:45am.

Bideford Library have their regular story time on Thursday 7th June from 9:30-10am.

For more info on National Bookstart Week go to www.booktrust.org.uk also… Bookstart Corner.  Bideford Library have teamed up with Bideford Bay Children’s Centre to offer a fun, free, course for parents with children under 5 years old. The course starts on Friday 8th June from 10-11am and runs for 4 weeks in total at Bideford Library. Each week parents will get free items from the Bookstart Corner Pack to support their child in developing a love of stories, rhymes, puppets and drawing. Places are limited and booking is essential through the library or Children’s Centre.? devonlibraries.org.uk or Bideford Library 01237 476075.

Where did all the Signposts Go?   A local information booklet written for carers of people with dementia. Caring for someone diagnosed with dementia can often be a lonely and bewildering experience. The hope is that this booklet may provide some direction for carers by offering input from those who have experienced the journey first hand and by the inclusion of a few signposts for the road ahead.  Booklets are available from Bideford and Northam libraries.

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‘The Uncommon Reader’, by Alan Bennett; discussed by Bideford Library Readers’ Group. (The Readers’ Group meets on the first Wednesday of every month, 2pm at Bideford Library).

We commoners know that our constitutional monarch gets exercise from riding horses and chasing corgis. What we may not have considered is the Queen’s enjoyment of literature. This well written novella, enjoyed by the majority of the Reading Club, is a frothy conceit in which the reigning monarch suddenly discovers in her 70s the joy of reading-and not any reading but a playlist of Bennett’s favourite books. Bennett does not allow her Majesty to set foot outside manorial settings with the exception of the Westminster mobile library parked outside the Royal Kitchens. In real life the excellent Buckingham Palace Rd Library, which was regularly used by the Queen Mother’s lackey, is only two streets away.

[Incidentally (editor’s note here) – as a librarian in the sixties working for Westminster Libraries I knew the back story to the Queen Mother’s library habits and the fact that she liked to read crime fiction, particulary Dick Francis.]

Bennett needs a hero and invents a scenario in which Her Majesty stumbles across a mobile library while chasing her dogs, meets her guide, Norman, and proceeds on a literary journey in a cleverly written, gently humorous and mildly republican narrative. He becomes her amanuensis, much to the chagrin of the Royal Courtiers who in time surreptitiously park him in the Creative Writing programme of the University of East Anglia.

Royal duties become onerous to her Majesty as the journey through literature proceeds. When a case of reading materials goes missing on an official trip to Canada, the queen suffers from ‘separation anxiety’ and courtiers suspect the onset of dementia.

The Royal Household have been at the forefront of embracing modern technology through ebooks and audio books. We know from documentaries that Her Majesty is committed to preserving the royal historical materials within her royal libraries. We all expressed delight in Her Majesty’s progression to the role of author, through one suspects over her reign that she has had a great deal of practice.

Linda Napier-Burrows.

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