It’s almost time for the announcement of this year’s Man Booker Prize winner!
It’s not uncommon for individuals or book groups to use book awards as a personal challenge – a colleague in RBKC reads the Man Booker shortlist every year and shares her thoughts with the rest of the staff. Why not join her?
You can find the latest shortlists of all the main awards on the library catalogue itself, making it quick and easy to find out where the books are in stock or to place a reservation.
When a new shortlist comes out, we move the winners from the previous year to the ‘Prizewinning books’ list so that you can still find them.
Latest key dates for book awards:
- 13 September: Man Booker Prize 2016 shortlist
- 17 October: Baillie Gifford Prize (formerly the Samuel Johnson Prize) for non-fiction 2016 shortlist
- 18 October: Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2016 shortlist
- 25 October: Man Booker Prize 2016 winner
- 15 November: Baillie Gifford Prize for non-fiction 2016 winner
- 22 November: Costa Book Awards 2016 category shortlists
Reading an article entitled ‘Literary prizes make books less popular, study finds‘ made me wonder why, if this was the case, why on earth anyone in the book industry – authors, publishers or booksellers – continues with the whole awards malarkey? It depends on your definition of ‘popular’. The conclusion of the 2014 study was that sales increase, the book reaches a wider audience than it might otherwise, and those readers may not have chosen the book because it appeals to them but simply because it has won a prize. Therefore the proportion of negative reviews increases – the book is less popular in terms of good reviews, but still more popular in terms of increased sales / borrowing from libraries. If they can cope with the poor reviews, the authors can enjoy the kudos of the award, the prize money, and the revenue from increased sales, as well as the knowledge that their work is being seen by large numbers of people.
If you’re an avid reader, sometimes it’s good to have your tastes challenged, either by reading a book that’s won an award or that is recommended by someone whose tastes may not align with your own. An online book group I belonged to once held a ‘reading challenge’, where peoples were assigned a book by other members that went against their preferences. I was given some ‘chick lit’ (I quite enjoyed it) and I challenged a friend who hated biographies and war stories to read Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth (sadly, it didn’t change her mind – but she read it!).
Why not use our handy book lists or even some of the Staff Picks on this blog to find yourself or your children a new, award winning book to read?
Posted in Books, Online
Tagged awards, Baillie Gifford, book lists, books, catalogue, Costa, Guardian, Man Booker, prizewinners, reading, Samuel Johnson Prize
A musical lunch was held at St John’s Wood Library on Silver Sunday for members of the Home Library Service, along with other local residents.
From vinyl to digital: our resident vinyl expert and HLS staff member Barrie played vocalists from the past, from the well known Frank Sinatra to the lesser known Jerry Vale (“Summertime in Venice”). We then experimented with listening to music via the internet on our libraries’ tablets.
“Fascinating old records and played like a professional DJ”
“Many thanks, it has made a great difference to my life, coming out to an event”
“Thank you for your imaginative organisation”
Posted in Home Library Service, Music, Online, St John's Wood Library
Tagged Frank Sinatra, HLS, Home Library Service, Jerry Vale, music, older people, online, record player, Silver Sunday, tablet, vinyl
Westminster Libraries have four Business Information Points (BIPs) which are aimed at helping people start up their own business by providing access to a wide variety of online resources, books and magazines. However, have you ever thought about how these resources could help you not only start up a business but also find and gain the job you really want?
In Westminster Reference Library we have witnessed just some of the ways in which it can be done. To start with, library users are afforded that extra bit of time they need on the library’s BIP computers to find and apply for jobs as well as do their business research, administration and planning. And the online resources – both the In House Specials and the 24/7 resources – have come in handy as well. Indeed, just a few days ago someone used Marketline to help prepare a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis on a company with whom he had an upcoming interview.
COBRA the Complete Business Reference Advisor (log in with your library card number) shows people how to start up and run a successful business. However, it is also helpful in showing which qualifications you may need, organisations you could contact and what to do in order to start out on your own or find a job in a particular area. Similar to this is the yearly careers directory, a book which explains in brief which qualifications you will need to begin and progress in certain careers as well as what each job entails, how much you will be paid and what the future prospects are.
Market research databases such as IBISWorld, Marketline and Mintel can all help you to research the best sector to aim for. This is important as it might take time to prepare for a career through gaining the necessary experience and qualifications.
You can use Experian and Marketline to find out which companies you can approach and look at to find the job and experience you wish to gain. Experian can also help you learn about key names and connections, this can also be done with Who’s Who UK (log straight in with your library card) which is searchable by keyword as well as just name.
Use these databases to learn about companies and markets, plus the experience and qualifications you will need to help you in any applications you make. When it comes to actually applying for jobs they can help you prepare for those tough interview questions. Most libraries also have books to help you do any tests which you may need to perform during the application process.
The BIPs in Westminster are located in Westminster Reference Library, Paddington Library, Church Street Library and Pimlico Library – come and see us, and keep an eye out for BIP events that might be of use in your career planning.
Posted in Business, Church Street Library, Online, Paddington Library, Pimlico Library, Westminster Reference Library
Tagged 24/7, business, business info, Business Information Points, careers, Church Street, databases, Experian, IBISWorld, IHS, In House Specials, interview, jobseekers, Marketline, Mintel, online, Paddington, Pimlico, reference, research, Westminster Reference, Who's Who
While helping to plan the forthcoming ‘Computers in the Fall’ IT training for beginners, I began to think about the huge changes the digital revolution has brought about. A great place to start when looking into this topic is Issues Online. We’ve written about this great series before on Books & the City and I went straight to check recent additions to its contents. This can be done by going to Issues Online (log in with your library card number) and selecting a topic: in this case, The Internet. Among recent additions to this resource were surveys and statistics of digital usage.
The first link I checked was a snapshot of key digital statistics (January 2016) which revealed that from a total UK population of 64.91 million there are 59.47 million active internet users. Social media and mobile phone/tablet/pad active accounts statistics were also compiled. ‘Active accounts’ recognises the fact that many people have more than one device and use several social media platforms and therefore does not refer to individuals. The survey found 33 million active mobile phone users and 38 million active social media users.
These figures whilst impressive do not provide much detail. Some idea of how people use the internet can be found in a second survey from YouGov which asked the question ‘Which is the most important consumer invention?’
Not surprisingly, examples from the digital revolution ranked highly. In first place at 55% was the invention of the smartphone (62% of 18-24 year olds put smartphones first). Age differences are reflected in the methods of digital communication that appear in the survey results. For instance, there was a large age discrepancy in the ranking of Facebook in the survey. It was ranked second by the under 40s but only fifth for older people surveyed. Older people were more likely to use Skype as a means of communication.
If you feel that you are being left behind in the digital revolution, there is hope. Take a look at the topics we’re covering in the ‘Computers in the Fall’ training at Marylebone Library – from mouse skills for beginners to how to shop safely online. Choose your topic or topics and just turn up – there is no need to book in advance.
Posted in Marylebone Library, Online
Tagged 24/7, beginners, computers, computing, Issues Online, IT, Marylebone, older people, online, reference, training
Argue like a pro
Feel like there are one or two things to discuss at the moment?
Want to sharpen up your debating skills?
Westminster has not one but three debating clubs within easy reach; the Society of Cogers, the Sylvan Club and Debating London. You can just go along and listen or get more involved and take part in debates.
Two of the groups meet in pubs, which may be of interest, and one offers debate training (for a fee). You can find them listed on the Westminster Community Information web site.
Paddington health event
In late April I attended one of the regular health events at Paddington Library.
Here are some of the things you asked me about:
- A young man wanted to know about knitting groups in the borough
- A Malaysian lady who wants to start her own business running classes in Malaysian martial art (silat) and Malaysian cooking asked about business resources
- A lady wanted to find a diabetes support group
- A mature student was looking for social groups in the area.
- An older lady was asking about handyman services and draught-proofing grants.
I will attend other library health events in the future and look forward to seeing you there and answering your questions about community information in Westminster.
With over nine thousand plaques mounted on buildings scattered throughout the capital, the London Blue Plaques scheme is well known. In some streets of central London, almost all the buildings display a plaque, or even more than one. What you may not be aware of is that the interesting scheme celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Here’s a short history:
William Ewart, a Liberal MP, suggested that the government should start this scheme to honour significant London residents in 1863. The idea was rejected due to cost, but three years later in 1866 the Society of Arts (later the Royal Society of Arts) took the scheme on.
The first two plaques were erected in 1867. The first commemorated the poet Lord Byron at his birthplace, 24 Holles Street off Cavendish Square, but was later destroyed with the demolition of the house. The second plaque in Kings Street, St James was erected to the exiled French emperor Napoleon III London residence. This has survived.
William Ewart is in the select group who are commemorated with more than one plaque. English Heritage, the current custodians of the scheme, now restrict the scheme to a single plaque per person however many addresses that individual had. William Ewart is commemorated in central London but also his former house which is now Hampton Public Library in south west London (see picture above). This is a particularly fitting commemoration as, whilst an MP, William Ewart introduced a bill that became Britain’s first Public Library Act setting up a network of free public libraries..
I think it is fair to say that for many years this scheme has favoured establishment figures and there has been a definite bias towards males. Currently only 13% of the total commemorate women. Recognising this, English Heritage is making concerted efforts to get proposals from the public for female candidates.
Westminster is home to plaques for several ‘non-establishment’ figures, including Crimean war nurse Mary Seacole and, unusually, one commemorating an event rather than a person: The Cato Street Conspiracy, which was a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister and Cabinet in 1820.
Biographical details for these and other blue plaque entries can be found on the English Heritage website. You can find out more in one of the many Blue Plaque guides available from your library. However, for a more comprehensive, detailed biography why not use your library membership to consult the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online? Nearby, Kensington Central Library also holds a Biographies special collection of approximately 80,000 books, to which annually over 1,000 new titles are added.
Posted in Books, Online
Tagged 1866, anniversaries, biography, Blue Plaques, Byron, Cato Street Conspiracy, English Heritage, London, Mary Seacole, Napoleon III, ODNB, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, public libraries, RBKC, Royal Society of Arts, Society of Arts, William Ewart