Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Man Booker Reading Group

He didn't turn up and I'd bought some Hobnobs. Peter Kay that is. Steve Clayton and I were at Heaton Library in Bolton to talk about his book, The art of being dead and publishing. There were about 30 people but the Bolton gagmeister was absent. More Hobnobs for everyone else. Your loss Mr. Kay. However, we nearly didn't get there. I had Googled for directions but like the great navigator Iam, I didn't actually look at them and found myself headed towards Wigan. Scott and Aumundson were correct not to hire my forbears. They would have ended up in Brazil. I stopped at a bus stop and asked for directions. A lady popped her head in the window and said 'I've lived 'ere forty years luv, and I've never heard of Heaton Library.' A man next to her didn't have such reservations. 'Heaton Library?,' 'Yes.' I replied. 'I'll get in and show you.'.
When this happens two thoughts jump into your head.

1.Psycho nutter.
2.Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
3. Care in the community.

But I shouldn't have worried. He took us straight there. He was a diamond, my head stayed connected to my neck and my faith in humanity was restored.

The reading group were vibrant, knowledgeable and passionate. Not all of them liked Steve's book, and that's their prerogative. However, most of them did and asked some very pertinent questions. They had some very interesting thoughts about Creative writing courses but that's a topic for another day. It just proves however that libraries are more than just the issuing of books. They are a vibrant, integral part of a community where groups meet up everyday to discuss a myriad of things. They are essential services and for some along with the Post Office they are their only contact with other people. And you can't put a price on this. This is something for councillors to ponder when they dig into their free meals after their umpteenth committee meeting on twinning their town with Ulan Bator.

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