Libraries mark national day

bigstock-Emotional-kids-in-a-school-lib-42185950What better month to start a new artsbeat column about the fantastic cultural activities going on in our libraries than February as it is the month in which we celebrate National Libraries Day.

Across the country on Feburary 8 there will be author visits, live music performances, book clubs, family history days, stand-up comedy and behind the scenes tours. And Derbyshire will be no exception.

The county’s libraries have chosen to focus on families and children this year and events at the weekend will be a culmination of celebrations not only at the libraries but in school’s colleges and the University of Derby.

Four authors are joining in the fun with workshops and talks at 11 libraries from Glossop in the north to Ilkeston in the south.

HL Dennis, a favourite among young people, will be here to talk about her series of four books called Secret Breakers.

Helen will be revealing details about her code cracking team and their mysterious adventures, at Duffield on Friday February 7 at 5pm, and then on February 8 she will be at Ilkeston at 10am, Heanor 11.45am and Alfreton at 2pm.

Nottingham based Jonathan Emmett will be giving a lively performance when he talks about his latest book children’s book Here Be Monsters.

The author and illustrator will be aiming his pirate fun at youngsters aged five and over in Brimington (11am) and Chesterfield (2.15pm) on February 8.

The beautifully illustrated book is a swashbuckling tale of dastardly pirates and mysterious monsters so it is bound to be lots of fun.

Derbyshire’s Poet Laureate Helen Mort is staging two poetry writing workshops one in New Mills Library at 10.15am and another in Glossop at 1.45pm. From comics to cookbooks, drama to dictionaries we’ve all got our favourite books and in these creative writing sessions Helen will help you use books to create some words of your own.

The workshops are aimed at children over eight years old and their families.

The last author visiting the county will be the man behind a series of football fiction books – Tom Palmer.

The award-winning author from Leeds has been accredited with encouraging a lot of young people, especially boys, to take up reading.

He will be visiting Shirebrook (10.45am) and Dronfield (3.15pm) libraries on February 18 during the half term week.

Go along and join in the football fun. There will be a chance to take part in a quiz and a penalty shoot-out as well as learning more about Tom’s books and writing.

The whole national celebration is being kicked off in Derbyshire with a Big Night Out at Buxton Library on February 7 from 7pm until 9pm.

The party fun includes free food and drink, funky music, face painting, a bouncy castle, Mario Kart Wii challenge, a treasure hunt and a puppet workshop. It is aimed at 11- to 16-year-olds.

All the events for the celebrations are free but you will need to contact your library to book a ticket.

All the phone numbers for the libraries are online at under leisure and culture.

In Derby city Allestree Library is celebrating National Libraries Day with an evening with Richard Buckley, lead archaeologist in the search for Richard III, one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of recent years. At the event on February 12 there will be updates following on from the previous talk at the Central Library in July last year.

The talk which costs £5 is from 7pm-8.30pm and will be followed by a question and answer session.

Booking is essential and for more information telephone the Allestree Library on 01332 559761 or email

There will also be a Jack and the Beanstalk puppet show at Central Library in Derby from 11am to 12 noon on February 8. The show is free and there is no need to book.

Afterwards you could try out a helpful session giving advice on what your children should be reading.

Choosing quality books at the right level is difficult. The library’s expert children’s librarian will help you find the right ones to tempt your child.

You can book a free personal consultation between 11.30am and 1pm on February 8 and get advice and recommendations.

If you have an event planned at a library let artsbeat know by emailing