Visit Opening the Book United States

Finding a good read

Amazon’s customer reviews and suggestions are widely used and can be quite helpful if taken in balance. However, because of the way people often make book purchases, the adjacencies (people who bought this also bought….) don’t always reflect personal reading tastes.

Book art and libraries

Libraries are the place where ideas begin. Many of the best ideas, artistic leaps, inventions and breakthroughs have been inspired by the contents of public libraries and yet, like many of the vital contributions that the library makes to the wider community, the effect is unseen so how could that link be made visible?

Christ child riffles pages

Fifteenth- century paintings by Hans Memling and Jan Van Eyck take religious subjects and use formal compositions but there’s an unexpected touch of realism, typical of the Renaissance. The Christ child is shown riffling the pages of the Bible – like all small children he explores the world through physical touch and finds turning book pages irresistible.

Edinburgh International Book Festival

I’m a big fan of the Edinburgh International Book Festival and visit when I can – but I live 200 miles away, so it’s not always that easy.

Library project archive

In twenty years of reader-centred practice there are many projects which are no longer running but are still worth mining for ideas and inspiration. Explore some of the most successful reader-centred projects in the UK below.

Bookchains

Bookchains

A Bookchain can most simply be described as a reading group that doesn’t meet. It is an ideal option for readers who want to share their reading experiences but don’t have the time or inclination for a regular face-to-face group. Readers are grouped together – three or four people per bookchain is typical – and they choose, write about and pass on books to other member of their chain in a process managed by the library staff.

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Blind Date

Blind Date

Blind Date was part of a web project called What are you up to? It was run in partnership between East Midland Reader and Development Project (EMRALD) and Opening the Book between 2000 and 2003 and was targeted at readers aged 16-25. An editorial group of one member of staff from each of the nine participating authorities worked with an Opening the Book site manager to plan site content and development. The resulting website was ground breaking in style and content and linked online and offline services.

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Give me a break

Give me a break

Give me a break was the first dual language Welsh/English site for readers. It enables readers to choose their books according to the kind of break they are looking for – for example: a break from the kids (rhag y plant) or a break from stress (rhag y bwrlwm). The target audience for this site is readers in their 20s and 30s, taking on board the specific needs of this age group: first job/unemployment; first baby/unattached; experimenting with first experience with extreme sports and travel/bogged down with domesticity and work boredom. The website was complemented by posters and book displays in libraries – connecting online and offline activity.

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Writing about books from the<br>reader’s point of view

Writing about books from the
reader’s point of view

Visually impaired readers have the same difficulties choosing what to read next as everyone else except that their choice is more limited by what’s available. Here’s an example of how to open up reading choices by grouping titles together round reading needs or experience and then writing about them in a tempting way. The project created reader-centred taster compilations in large print, Braille and audio formats to give visually impaired readers a new way to choose what to read. Each compilation brought together an intriguing mix of titles with introductory text and reader comments. The large print booklists stand as a good example of how to approach a reader-centred promotion and how to write about books in a reader-centred way.

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Ønskebok

Ønskebok

The Ønskebok website is the largest international project Opening the Book has undertaken.

Reader2Reader

Reader2Reader

Opening the Book won the contract to deliver the Read part of the People's Network service.

Scottish Readers

Scottish Readers

Opening the Book was contracted by SLIC/CILIPS to deliver a training programme involving all 32 Scottish Library authorities

Stock Quality Health Check

Stock Quality Health Check

The Stock Quality Health Check was developed for the Audit Commission, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England.

Branching Out

Branching Out

Branching Out was a national reader development project which ran from 1998 to 2006.

Estyn Allan

Estyn Allan

A three-year project for readers that unites every library service in Wales

4uReaders

4uReaders

This site for readers aged 11-16 was developed with East Ayrshire Libraries