(Reading Activists with Neil Gaiman, Miranda McKearney and Liz Cleaver. Photo by Robin Mayes.)
On 14 October Reading Activists Jerry, Mabel, Prince, Olivia and Syed spent 20 minutes grilling Neil Gaiman before he delivered our annual lecture. The following is written by Oliva.
On the 14th October 2013 the second annual Reading Agency lecture took place at the Barbican Centre, London. I was one of the five young Reading Activists from around the country who were invited to this spectacular event. The lecture given by Neil Gaiman (bestselling author of The Graveyard Book) was about the future of libraries and young people's attitudes to reading for pleasure.
As one of those honoured Reading Activists, I had front row seats to Neil Gaiman's inspirational talk. "A gateway drug" was Neil's way of saying that one book can start the addiction of reading and the pursuit of knowledge for a life time. Neil's talk opened my eyes as a young person myself to see how young people shy away from the addiction of reading and happiness it can bring. Although a book lover, I can see that to young people reading is stigmatised to make you feel different and that you are not 'cool' to the eye of society's new dream.
Library of the future
After Neil Gaiman's astonishing lecture, the privileged Reading Activists set out among the guests of the lecture to ask: what do you want in your future library? While we collected people's opinions on this pressing issue, I had a thought on what I would like in my future, and I would like a space in the library where myself and other people of the community sit in a large, comfortable chair with a good, interesting book and occasionally have an interesting and complex conversation on the books in hand.
Looking at this delightful event as a whole I would say that this is a start to opening other people's eyes to the future of our libraries, that if they start to shut down the community feeling would be wiped from a once strong community.
(Reading Activists with Neil Gaiman and other authors who attended the lecture. Photo by Robin Mayes.)
Library of the future suggestions included:
Friendly and knowledgeable librarians
Sofas and cushions
An abundance of free information, available to everyone
Loads of children and teens using the latest technology
A gateway to betterment!
Themed spaces as if being in a fairy tale
A physical space for the life of the mind
People coming together to connect, be creative and free
An extra day in the week which you can download, just for reading!
Just be there!
(Above, Reading Activist Mabel with the 'libraries of the future' suggestion board. Photo by Robin Mayes.)
Read Reading Activist Mabel's article about the lecture.
Join the debate - tell us what you'd like to see in the library of the future via twitter, facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about our annual lecture given by Neil Gaiman. You can also watch and read the full lecture.
Catch up with what people said about the lecture on social media via our #ReadingAgencyLecture storify.