Sunday, 31 August 2014

Aaarrgh! Dawn of the Undead sponsor LibraryCamp 2014

We're thrilled and proud and a little bit scared to announce our newest LibraryCamp 2014 sponsor - Dawn of the Unread!

Big huge thanks go out to James and Paul for their support and for bringing some undead action to Newcastle's first LibraryCamp. Here's a post from James Walker to tell you more....

Dawn of the Unread is an interactive graphic novel that is available across all media platforms (iPad, Android, iPhone, website). It aims to raise awareness of local literary history and in turn a sense of civic pride. Whether we like it or not, the nature of reading is/has changed and so we are looking at different ways to make the written word more accessible and explore the relationship between digital and print media. We like to think of this as an ‘open relationship’ rather than a happy marriage.

The narrative is a loose twist on the zombie genre: ‘When the dead go unread there’s gonna be trouble. Writers from Nottingham’s past return from the grave in search of the one thing that can keep their memories alive: boooks’.

On the 8th of each month a new comic is released and is created by different artists and writers. These include: Alison Moore, Eddie Campbell, Hunt Emerson and Nicola Monaghan. Each writer explores one iconic figure from Nottingham’s literary past that includes: The 5th Duke of Portland, Slavomir Rawicz, the fictional hybrid Byron Clough, Alma Reville (Mrs Hitchcock) Alan Sillitoe, D.H Lawrence and many more. This is literature in its most diverse sense, exploring medieval ballads, black-letter verses, poetry, philosophy, literature, and reportage.

Each comic in the serial has libraries, archives or bookshops at the heart of the narrative. This is because we believe that physical books still have an integral role to play in education and democracy. Our target audience is reluctant readers – better known as the ‘youtube generation’ - although the embedded content enables readers to go deeper into the text and address different nuances of learning.

At this point, astute readers will be wondering: what on earth has a digital graphic novel got to do with physical books and libraries? The next paragraph is for you.

Dawn of the Unread has a unique gaming function in that users have to perform four tasks at the end of each chapter. Scores are recorded on a virtual library card. The person who scores the highest features as a character in the last chapter. The tasks are: GO – visit a location. This is recorded via GPS. BWAINZ - answer multiple choice questions. READ – get a relevant book out from the library. CREATE – upload a story inspired by the chapter and view it on one of four screens (two in London, two in Nottingham).

Dawn of the Unread is an attempt to address worrying illiteracy figures that have recently seen the UK ranked as 22nd out of 24 industrialised nations for illiteracy. Our goal is to see whether a more rounded and interactive approach to reading can help improve literacy as well as drive readers to libraries. If successful it could be adapted regionally. We are writing to every school in Nottinghamshire to try and get as many 14+ readers involved and excited about books. And this is why we have decided to sponsor Library Camp because, like us, they recognise the importance of books having a visual presence in our lives and libraries as being the best place to engage readers.

So please join our digital and artistic editor Paul Fillingham on the 13 September and help us celebrate wordy goodness. And please help us spread the word. You don’t have to be from Nottingham to learn about our rebellious history.

James Walker
Bwainz and Editor, Dawn of the Unread @TheSpaceLathe

Friday, 1 August 2014

LibraryCamp 2014 Tickets Available Now!

We are pleased to announce the fourth annual LibraryCamp unconference, happening at Newcastle City Library on Saturday 13 September. The event is free and the theme is improving libraries. LibraryCamp is open to all - you don't need to work in a library and we'd urge you to come and experience an unconference if you've not been before., especially if you work in a public library. 

Please tell your colleagues about Librarycamp and share via your social networks! Tickets are available now on EventBrite.

The theme of LibraryCamp is improving libraries and at a librarycamp the participants lead the agenda – in fact, there isn’t an agenda until people make suggestions for what they’d like to talk about at the start of the day. It’s open to anyone: public/private/whatever sector and you don't have to work in a library. It’s free to attend and there are no keynotes speakers - anyone can suggest, facilitate or lead a session and sessions can take many forms - workshops, show and tell, debate, how to, collaboration, hands on. Past sessions at LibraryCamp have included:

  • How to establish a unified online presence for UK public libraries
  • Demonstrating value of college libraries
  • Are public libraries safe under local authority control?
  • DRM is rubbish - How to strip the DRM from an ebook
  • How to run a Code Club and intro to Scratch
  • LibraryBox: filesharing in the wild
  • Developing a new library advocacy model
  • Open source software for libraries

Librarycamp is run by volunteers and has been running since 2011. Any questions? Please get in touch with Richard or Sue.

Would you like to sponsor LibraryCamp. There are loads of good reasons to sponsor this annual grassroots unconference.  Please get in touch with Richard or Sue.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Sponsor LibraryCamp 2014 and feel good!

LibraryCamp 2014 takes place on Saturday 13 September in glorious Newcastle. Our  hosts - Newcastle Libraries - have generously provided the venue for free, but we would like to feed and water 200 campers so we are looking for sponsorship to help us do this.

LibraryCamp is a non profit organisation run by volunteers Sue Lawson and Richard Veevers plus a supportive network of more volunteers  across the UK. By sponsoring LibraryCamp your organisation is supporting a grass roots project with a mission to improve libraries via innovative unconferences with attendees form  across the library world and beyond.

LibraryCamp 2011 Photo credit: davepattern via photopin cc

Librarycamps are a great place to engage with a wide audience of people in the library community  from library assistants to shambrarians and heads of services to newly qualified staff. And it's not just library types that attend either; there are students, hackers, artists and enthusiasts alike - even library members! The great thing about LibraryCamp is the mix of people, all coming together to share their knowledge and to make links within their community and beyond.

LibraryCamp is one of the most exciting and innovative events in the library year, with an attendance of over 200 people in 2013. Sponsor the event and increase your organisation's reach to the UK  library communitiy and feel good for supporting a non profit, DIY event.

LibraryCamp 2013 Photo credit: Sasha Taylor via photopin cc

Owing to the success of previous LibraryCamp events, content generated via blogs, tweets, photos and word of mouth means your organisation is seen online by a large number of people, before, during and after the event. Some of our previous sponsors have included; DigiEnable, OCLC, SWETS, LibraryGame, Ken Chad Consulting, Red Quadrant and Shared Intelligence.

We'd love to add you you the list!

Photo credit: Sasha Taylor via photopin cc

Why do we need sponsorship? LibraryCamp is run by volunteers who give up their free time to put on the event. The event is entirely free to attend, but it's not free to put on. In order to keep LibraryCamp free, sponsorship is needed in order to feed and water the attendees as well as other expenses such as equipment hire. We need to raise a minimum of £1000 to put on 2014's event.

If you’re interested in sponsoring LibraryCamp, why not contact us?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

We're back! LibraryCamp hits the north

Newsflash! Tickets available now >>

We"re back!
And we're super excited to announce LibraryCamp 2014 is going to be happening in the beautiful city of Newcastle. We hope this means more campers can attend from the north and from Scotland and we'd urge you to come and experience an unconference if you've not been before.

Photo credit: davepattern via photopin cc


Thank you to our super generous hosts, Newcastle Libraries and our LibraryCamp friends in the North who have arranged a spiffing venue at Newcastle Library. 

Please do add Saturday 13 September to your diaries and sign up on the EventBrite expression of interest list. Although the list isn't a guaranteed ticket it does mean you'll find out first when the actual tickets are released. It also really helps us gauge numbers and catering requirements. 


As ever, the theme of LibraryCamp is improving libraries. In July 2011, a small group of UK library staff began brainstorming how libraries can avoid extinction, reinvent themselves and strengthen their role as vital parts of their communities. With that, LibraryCamp was borne! Directly inspired by UK GovCamp, the virgin library campers set about creating an unconference with a focus on improving and transforming libraries. 

Who can come?

Anyone and everyone! This is definitely not an event exclusively for library staff. LibraryCamp is open to all. You definitely don't need to work in a library - and we'd welcome LOTS more non library folk. Plus we need more input from public library staff. It doesn't matter what your job title is - you just need to have an opinion, have something to share, teach or discuss!

Photo credit: creating in the dark via  photopin cc

What happens?

Librarycamp is a user generated unconference for people interested in libraries. The theme of LibraryCamp is improving and transforming libraries. 

At a librarycamp the participants lead the agenda – in fact, there isn’t an agenda until people make suggestions for what they’d like to talk about at the start of the day. 

It’s free to attend and there are no keynote speakers. It’s open to anyone: public/private/whatever sector and you don't have to work in a library.

Anyone can facilitate or lead a session and sessions can take many forms - it could be a workshop, a show and tell, a learning opportunity, something you want to discuss, a chance to create something and collaborate on new projects. Past sessions at LibraryCamp have included such classics as:

  • A single online presence for public libraries
  • Evidence-based librarianship
  • Learning to teach
  • Copyright Ninjas – Rebels with a Cause
  • Demonstrating value of college students, to tutors, to managers
  • Are public libraries safe under local authority control?
  • Singing and rhyme time for relaxation
  • How to strip the DRM from an ebook
  • How to run a Code Club and intro to Scratch
  • LibraryBox filesharing in the wild
  • Developing a new library advocacy model
  • Open source software for libraries
Photo credit: c_l_b via photopin cc

Follow @librarycamp on Twitter to keep up with all the latest news

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Radical Tactics of the Offline Library

The Radical Tactics of the Offline Library is based on the new book “Radical Tactics: Reversalism and Personal Portable Libraries” By Henry Warwick which is free to download and share from the Institute of Network Cultures. We found this via, in a thought provoking blog post about the increasing commodification of knowledge. The post looks at the potential of libraries, librarians and their offline and online communities to counter this via self-organising access to knowledge and learning using P2P networks and platforms.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Public Library Festival - down but not out!


It's a bit deflating when a Kickstarter campaign for a potato salad gets ten times more backers than a campaign to fund a national public libraries festival. But hey - got to love the internet! :)

Big, huge thanks to everyone who pledged their hard earned cash and to all the tweeters and supporters. It's done now - the Crowdfunder has officially flopped and the public library festival is temporary postponed.

That’s postponed, not shelved. Because public libraries are still worth celebrating not just saving. It's time to change the tone of the conversation about the future of libraries. If all you hear is 'save libraries' it’s no suprise when you think libraries are dying.

Public libraries need a relentlessly positive advocacy campaign. The LGA have made it clear there are a heap of cuts on the way. Libraries need to widen their audience to gain more members, to swell the ranks of supporters across a wider demographic - that's where a public library festival comes in.

Everybody knows some library services are fighting against closure, but at the same time tonnes of libraries across the UK are developing innovative and creative services that have the potential to reverse the downward spiral in usage. That's what Librarycamp has always been about and that's what we aim to promote through the festival. We want to change the message we send about libraries.

Libraries are evolving to become collaborative spaces where the community can create -  not just consume. And wonderful technology means your library can help your community to share their creations across the globe, from a self published ebook to an internet radio show, from a live music gig in the library, to stuff you made at the fablab.

A National Public Library festival will be a big huge noisy showcase for all those things. We want communities, journalists, politicians and funders to connect libraries with achievement not failure. Let's stop begging and start empowering!*

(Photo credit: Đ…olo via photopin cc)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The National Public Libraries Festival's gone.
We failed to raise our Crowdfunder target - all your cash doesn't belong to us. We amplified, but not loudly enough. We pushed, but not hard enough. We cajoled, but not sweetly enough. And for all that we're sorry. Apologies to all of you who were kind enough to sponsor or support us. We do feel like we let you and ourselves down. Most frustrating is that we know (and we know that you know) that the idea is a good one, that there is a clear and present interest in a National Public Libraries Festival. 

Which is also the reason that we do not think we failed, or that your contribution was wasted. LibraryCamp, together with you, did more and tried harder than ANYONE else to celebrate the golden jubilee of the Public Libraries & Museums Act. No one else stepped up; governmental body, library authority, professional (pphhht) organisation or grassroots campaign. It is a sad indictment of the state of the public library service that such an anniversary has gone ignored.

I stress that we failed to celebrate the golden jubilee of the Act. As we have said, we fully intend to get our way and to host a Public Libraries Festival as soon as possible. We've learnt many lessons, gained support from many more friends and received invaluable feedback about why institutions and organisations are reluctant to engage with the Act.

To sum up I'd like to take a quote from that most illustrious modern philosopher: as Arnie said "If it bleeds, we can kill it".

(Photo credit: smaedli via photopin cc)