Down with the street librarians

As part of the two-week long Soho Literary Festival, Charing Cross Library was offered a stand at the Rupert Street Book Fair on 29 September.

Books about Soho and the West End at the Rupert Street Book Fair

Although we don’t sell books (we lend them, free!) it was a too good a chance to miss and we joined forces with staff from Westminster Reference Library to promote libraries and all they can offer. With a table full of leaflets and another with books about Soho and the West End, we relished the opportunity to catch people’s attention and talk about libraries. We promoted Charing Cross and Westminster Reference libraries, as well as Triborough and the launch of One Library Card.

Charing Cross and Westminster Reference libraries at the Rupert Street Book Fair

What really grabbed people was a display of photos of actors from copies of Spotlight (in stock at Westminster Reference Library) covering the last 85 years. Not all of them were immediately recognisable – a picture of Nigel Havers from 1972 had pretty much everyone stumped, and while many people recognised the face of Denholm Elliott in 1950s ‘matinee idol’ guise, very few could come up with his name! The faces of Arnold Ridley, Vivien Leigh (in a rather dour photo from 1936) and Susan George as a young child caused some furrowed brows too, but by far the most recognised picture was of Sheridan Smith. It was from 1999, but she hasn’t aged a bit.

Images from 85 years of Spotlight at the Rupert Street Book Fair

In the space of five hours we talked to over 100 people, handed out leaflets and membership forms. It was a fantastic day and a change to be out of the library. As one person said, “It was good to see library staff on the streets”.

I think she meant it in a good way.

[Helen and Peter]


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