Monday, March 29, 2010

Festival time!

It is, believe it or not, springtime, and throughout the land literary festivals are sprouting up like so many daffodils. There are the biggies, Hay-on-Wye, Cambridge, and the little ones in every town from Dorking to Dorchester. The question is, what should the library do? At best they host as much as they can, sell tickets and be a general guide book to the whole thing. At worst, they are the ugly bridesmaid at Cinderella's wedding - based in a shabby building, not allowed to sell tickets, and giving away shiny brochures for glamorous events a world away from the dingy shelves and thumb worn books on display. And we are not known for selling books (yet) and those lending right fees pale in comparison with the big queue of eager people waiting to pay full whack for the latest hardback after a successful event.
But - when the authors have packed up and gone home, and the publicity posters are out of date, the library is once more the last bastion of literary culture in many towns, so enjoy the glitz and the glamour, smug in the knowledge that when they have all disappeared, you will still be there lending those books out and discussing them with your borrowers.
Don't have a festival? Start one! Surely you have a local author around who likes the sound of his/her own voice, or a town lad made good?
Who have you had in your town recently?

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