Animal Agents! Summer Reading Challenge 2017


Our Summer Reading Challenge takes place every year during the summer holidays. Saturday 15th July sees this year’s launch across Brighton & Hove Libraries.  Kids are encouraged to sign up at their local library to collect special prizes for reading – all for FREE.  Young readers are challenged to read six books of their choice over the course of the summer holidays.  The theme this year is Animal Agents – a whole host of clever creatures, ready to solve all kinds of crimes!  This band of furry, slippery and feathered friends is specially trained to use its skills and natural instincts to unravel mysteries – with a huge helping of fun along the way.

Animal Agents

There’s a website and an App to add to the fun too! Stories, fact books, audio books, graphic novels, poetry – they all count towards taking part. Pre-schoolers can also participate in their own mini-challenge.

Parents and carers love the challenge, not only is it free but they can see the difference the summer reading challenge makes to their children’s progress, preventing a ‘dip’ in reading during the school holidays.


‘This is such a brilliant scheme, encouraging my sometimes reluctant six year old boy to read and making my pre-reading 3 year old feel really excited about reading. Thank you.’


Last summer over 2400 children across the city took part in the challenge. Sign up from 15th July and get reading, then visit the website to keep a record of your challenge!


Further information

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Reading Hack – make things happen!

Reading Hack is a programme led by young people who volunteer their time to make amazing things happen in libraries, gaining valuable skills and experience along the way.

If you’re aged 13 – 19 and interested in volunteering in libraries across the city then we want to hear from you! Give your time over the summer to help support younger children take part in the Summer Reading Challenge – whatever your skills and interests, there’s something for everyone.


To find out more about Reading Hack and our summer volunteering programme for young people, email


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Volunteer Week

Our wonderful volunteers enjoyed tea and cakes made by Library Officer Nick to celebrate Volunteer Week.

Annie and DianeOur volunteers help with a variety of tasks, putting books back on the shelves and keeping libraries tidy, creating displays and helping library users with self-service, to selecting and delivering books to people who can’t easily get out to a library. Our volunteers make a real difference in libraries, bringing their own skills and personal qualities to enhance the work that they do.Julie and volunteers

We also invited Alan from Casserole Club to join us, and heard about this great local project which matches volunteer cooks with diners who find it difficult to cook for themselves.


Casserole club and Vols


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Let’s Explore Outdoors: National Bookstart Week!

It’s June! The sun is shining! It’s National Bookstart Week!

The chosen book for this year is ‘Everybunny dance!’ written and illustrated by Emily Sandall.  A tale of a blossoming friendship between a warren of musical bunnies and a friendly fox… it’s sure to be a guaranteed hit with the little ones!  Pop into your local library to receive your free copy!

bunny dance


To celebrate this week we’ve organised lots of fun, free family events across Brighton and Hove libraries. Take a look at the schedule below.

times storyBookstart have been helping families enjoy reading together for the last 25 years. They recognise how important it is to share books, stories and rhymes with children as early as possible. Pop in to your local library to join in with the celebrations! We hope to see you soon!

Happy National Bookstart Week! Let’s get outdoors! Let’s get reading!


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Diabetes Awareness Week

Just as we predicted in our previous post, May was indeed a very busy month, and things aren’t slowing down!  There’s lots going on during June and next week we’re focusing on diabetes, in support of Diabetes Awareness Week.

Over three million people are living with diabetes in the UK. Despite this staggering statistic and the fact lots of us know about diabetes or have someone close to us diagnosed, many people aren’t getting help or support to effectively manage their condition.

This has to change.

This year the campaign’s focus is on KNOWLEDGE and its importance in helping FIGHT diabetes.

So there’s no better time to get involved in the national conversation about diabetes! It’s a great chance to share your knowledge or experiences with others on social media using the hashtags #knowdiabetes #fightdiabetes #diabetesweek

Raising awareness of the disease and how to manage it is essential to ensure people can live well with diabetes.

We have a wide variety of resources across our libraries focusing on diabetes, from information guides to recipe books, which you can check out here

After having a look through a few, we came across an extensive range of tempting recipes, some of which we just had to try out – for research purposes of course! Featured below are a handful of cookbooks containing countless healthy, nutritious and balanced meals… and if you need any more convincing, see how yummy they look too!

 The Essential Diabetes Cookbook: which you can find at Hove, Jubilee, Saltdean, Coldean and Rottingdean libraries

essential diabetes





Everything You Need to Know about Diabetes Cookbook: Available to loan from Hove, Jubilee and Hangleton libraries

everything you need

Quick Cooking for Diabetes: Which you can find at Coldean, Hangleton and Jubilee

quick cooking

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Cookbook: At Jubilee library

type 1 and type 2

You can find more recipes online at the diabetes UK website

We also have eBooks available on our online catalogue We’ve recently added a new feature, meaning you can read offline – perfect for when you’re on the move or run out of data. Ask in your local library to find out more.

For further information on Diabetes visit the Diabetes UK website and share your knowledge on the forum

To search local services and groups in Brighton and Hove click here


Thanks for reading!





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Baelie’s review – ‘Optimism for Difficult Times’ (Brighton Festival 2017)

young-vols-stamp1Brighton Festival kindly gave our Reading Hack Young Volunteers some Pay it Forward tickets to attend a YA author panel this month called ‘Optimism for Difficult Times’. Here’s Baelie’s write-up of what was a really interesting and funny evening with some of the group’s favourite authors!

Hey everyone!

Today’s blog is going to talk about an event that I went to with my friend at the Sallis Benney Theatre! This event was part of the Brighton Festival, and it took place at the University of Brighton. Four authors including Juno Dawson, Alex Wheatle, Non Pratt and Patrice Lawrence, all sat down to discuss some issues including equality and some of their books. I was lucky enough to get my book Margot and Me signed by Juno Dawson!! It was overall a great experience, and I had a lot of insight into the world of someone who’s an author!

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The book that I got signed I thought I would really enjoy, and so far I have! Margot and Me is kind of based in the time of World War 2 and the 1980’s to the 1990’s. It’s about a girl named Felicity who moves to her grandmother’s farm with her previously ill mother. The story so far is great! And I can’t wait to read more.

My favourite bit about the whole event has to be the politics section. I like the topic of politics and for the four authors to discuss how they could include politics in their books was very interesting. I recommend to anyone who likes reading, or just going to events, to go to this next time!

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May is a busy month! Mental Health Awareness Week and Dementia Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017, 8th – 14th May

This year the focus is on good mental health and questioning whether people are surviving or thriving when it comes to their mental wellbeing.  Instead of just getting by and ‘surviving’ with a mental health condition, this week is about empowering individuals to take steps forward, however small they seem,  to actively work towards personal goals across all areas of their lives.mental health

The 2017 awareness campaign encourages us to strive to thrive in relation to mental health as well as raising awareness, combatting stigma and promoting social justice.

Books play a big role in increasing knowledge and for many are a source of support, encouragement and advice. This is why Brighton and Hove libraries have a wide range of books covering all types of mental health issues, with both fiction and non-fiction titles available for children, teenagers and adults.  These books raise awareness, knowledge and also act as self-help guides, supporting the self-management approach to mental health that is so often championed.  Pop in to your local library and check out the books we have to offer. You can browse our catalogue here:

While you are in, you can also ask us about our Reading Well Books on Prescription collection. This is a select group of titles officially recommended by health professionals to assist in the treatment of different mental health conditions. Click this link to have a look at the online Reading Well catalogue and suggested reading lists;

In our health sections we also keep a variety of leaflets and information guides to keep you informed of relevant local support groups and events. Come to visit and have a browse!

You can also get involved in a national conversation by visiting the Mental Health Foundation website

Look out for ideas and information on how to encourage a lasting change in how people think about mental health!20170504_102835-1

Dementia Awareness Week 2017, 14th – 20th May

Another campaign Brighton and Hove libraries are promoting this month is Dementia Awareness Week.  1 in 14 people over 65 have dementia at any one time. Despite it being so common, awareness and understanding of the disease is low, meaning many families face it alone.

The campaign, supported by the Alzheimer’s Society, is encouraging everyone to unite against dementia, to raise awareness and take any positive action they can. This action could be being patient and supportive if you come across someone that might be struggling, ringing a relative you haven’t spoken to in a while or even simply making an effort to find out more about the disease. Did you know, for example, that there are about 100 different types of dementia? Alzheimer’s disease is just one of them. It is only through awareness and action that the disease can be better understood, care can be improved and the search for a cure can progress further.dementia

A reoccurring theme for Dementia Awareness Week is ‘remember the person’. This reinforces the fact that a person with dementia is more than just that, there is a person behind the disease and they deserve to be seen. Ensuring the person is viewed and valued fully and respectfully is essential in working towards eradicating stigma and improving care. The importance of friendship and kindness cannot be understated in combatting the loneliness which often surrounds the disease.

We have a variety of resources covering dementia throughout our 14 libraries across Brighton and Hove, providing information and supporting those living with dementia as well as their friends and families. Here a few local activities in Brighton and Hove for those facing dementia and their families:

The Alzheimer’s Society website is also a great resource for advice and support:  and you can find your nearest local support groups through this link:

Get involved and raise awareness for both of these campaigns. It’s so important in helping and supporting those with mental health issues or those living with dementia, as well as their families and friends.

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City-wide drawing event during April: come and draw in Hove Museum!

As part of their current exhibition – Many Ways To Tell A Story – Fabula Collective are holding a drawing event during April, hosted by Hove Museum. All Brighton and Hove school children and any adults who would like to join in are invited to come along during opening hours and draw in the museum.

Come to the museum and be inspired: draw and imagine your own stories. You could draw one object or many – or a whole story in one page! Draw inside a frame created by Fabula artists – these will be available in the museum for everyone to use.

Then, you can enter your drawing into the Instagram exhibition #fabulacollective – Fabula want everyone to be part of this online story and all can join in. Full instructions will be available at the museum.

The fun will culminate in a Fabula fun day at Hove Museum to celebrate drawing and the end of our exhibition on:

Saturday 29th April from 12 noon until 4.30 pm.

Drawings will be exhibited in the galleries. Meet the artists behind the Fabula exhibition and get drawing tips. Join an arty-crafty workshop and treasure trail and handle museum objects.


Names of children who drew in the museum will be put in a hat for a prize draw to win some great art materials.

So sharpen your pencils and draw in the museum!


Contact Louise Dennis 07775 530539

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Happy Birthday Jonny!!

Jonny Scachter has been working for Brighton and Hove libraries for over 15 years.  He does a fantastic job of organising our CD collection on a voluntary basis, making sure everything is where it should be.  A huge asset to the service, he’s never afraid to tell staff how it should be done!  Such a dedicated member of the team, Jonny even came into Jubilee Library to volunteer on his 60th birthday.  He enjoyed cakes and coffee before starting his usual shift and was presented with a card signed by his colleagues.Jonny 1

“I really enjoy working in the Jubilee Library. It is very self-rewarding. Everyone tells me how much they appreciate me. If a customer is looking for a CD and I find it for them, it gives me a real sense and great feeling of self-satisfaction” –  Jonny Scachter, 24th March 2017.

If you’re interested in volunteering for the Brighton and Hove Library service, please contact us at:

Phone: 01273 290800


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BBC’s Get Creative Weekend

22Jubilee Library hosted a taster quilting session for the BBC’s Get Creative Weekend 7-9th April.  Get Creative is intended to celebrate everyday creativity and inspire everyone to have a go at doing something creative. Members of the Quilters’ Guild designed applique mini quilts and Indian Kantha coasters based on local features – the domes of the Royal Pavilion and seagulls, which library customers could sew and then take home their own creation.




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Storytime and Baby Boogie Drop-in Sessions at Hove Library


From 21st April Storytime at Hove Library will change from Wednesday to Friday afternoons.  Dates for drop-in sessions will be every 1st and 3rd Friday 2.30-2.45pm.  Baby Boogie music and rhymes for pre-school children will take place on 2nd and 4th Friday of the month.  Both Storytime and Baby Boogie are term time only – Everyone is welcome!


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