City Reads 2017 at Hove Library

Visit Hove Library and have a look at this year’s City Reads display, and grab a great read! 

City Reads Display - Hove Library 2017 - 2

City Reads 2017 is celebrating “The Handsworth Times”, by British Asian writer Sharon Duggal until 14th May.  For further information visit your local library for a programme of events.

City Reads Display - Hove Library 2017


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‘Into the Outside’ with Bethan Roberts and Allie Rogers

This upcoming free event is taking place at Jubilee Library:

Bethan Roberts will be discussing her novel My Policeman, set in the Brighton underground gay scene of the 1950s.  Hear her talk about how she researched the book.

my policeman

Allie Rogers, born and raised in Brighton, is an author of short fiction published in several magazines and anthologies, including Brighton’s ‘Queer’.  She will be discussing her debut novel Little Gold, set in our fair city in the 1980’s.

allie rogers

Also, take a tour of the ‘Into the Outside’ exhibition.  This is a young people’s project, which examines how issues faced today by those of a similar age identifying as LGBTQ+ compare with those faced by young LGBTQ+ people over the past forty years in the same city.  The project was supported with access to archive materials including the National Lesbian and Gay Survey, culminating in a brand new youth archive at The Keep.

into the outside

Come along and meet staff from The Keep to discuss their LGBTQ+ archive and their support of ‘Into the Outside: The Next Chapter’ by Brighton & Hove Young People.


Wednesday 15th March

Jubilee Library, Conference Room 1

2 – 4pm

Free event

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“The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.” – Albert Einstein

World Book Day is a global celebration of reading that is well highlighted in every librarian’s calendar, and here at Brighton & Hove Libraries it’s a particularly special date as it marks the anniversary of the opening of our flagship branch in the heart of the city’s North Laine.

Since its doors first opened in March 2005, Jubilee Library has been in the top five most visited libraries in the UK, with over 1 million visits a year. The building itself has won its own accolades for architecture and sustainable design – its carbon emissions are only 50% that of conventional buildings and the toilets are flushed with rainwater collected from the roof.

This year World Book Day falls on Thursday 2nd March and the occasion provides library members old and new with the opportunity to celebrate their local libraries and the dedicated staff that run them. It is not only an opportunity to reflect on the joy of reading, but also the importance of these free, safe spaces at the heart of communities.

On World Book Day 2017 we’ll be hosting workshops for selected primary school classes to launch Young City Reads – Brighton & Hove’s ‘big read’ for children, which sees school classes across the city reading the same book at the same time to form a giant book group. We’ll also be providing World Book Day activity sheets for families after school so do pop in to your local branch and say hello.


Our libraries are free to join – anyone can join – and we’re committed to ensuring you have access to books that you’ll love, and the information that you need. You can borrow books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, eBooks, access the internet, attend courses and events, or just drop in to study or read the paper.

10 things you might not know about your library service

  1. It’s free to join – did we mention that already?
  2. The Queen visited Jubilee Library in 2007 and joined in with one of our popular Baby Boogie music sessions for pre-school children
  3. Our creative team of library staff run an annual art exhibition ‘Paperback’, featuring their own work.
  4. A grand total of 73,709 books and DVDs were borrowed by children last summer holiday over the duration of the Summer Reading Challenge.
  5. We have a fantastic range of ‘Mood Boosting Books’ and ‘Books on Prescription’ for all ages.
  6. You can hire out our conference rooms for your meetings or events.
  7. Jubilee Library has a cafe that serves delicious coffee and cake amongst other things.
  8. We have a Rare Books collection, which features manuscripts spanning over seven centuries.
  9. All of our libraries have free Wi-Fi.
  10. We have a wide selection of online resources and subscriptions available to our members for free via our website, as well as our own eBook and eAudio lending portal ‘Overdrive’.

To find more information, including opening times and location of your local library visit, connect with us on Twitter @BHLibraries or find us on Facebook.

To find out more about Young City Reads visit or follow @youngcityreads on Twitter.

For more information about World Book Day visit


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Graphic Novels now on sale at Hove Library Book shop!

1481173351153980227As the libraries are currently getting an influx of shiny new stock for our graphic novels collection, we are selling off some pre loved titles. Come and check out what we have on offer! Prices between £1.00-£2.00.

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Brighton’s Graphic War

Hello everyone, Carlos here. Over the past 2 years I’ve been working on the Brighton’s Graphic War Project, a collaborative anthology of Graphic Novel stories written by young people, set in Brighton and Hove during World War 1. It’s great to see it finally published, in both Print and eBook form.


Image result for brightons graphic war queenspark booksThis is where it all started. This year had a lot of stuff about WW1 going on, on TV, in Museums and the like. It was the centenary of the start of the war. I was lucky enough to meet the QueenSpark Books staff when they visited my school.

Originally, my story was very different. My Oscar counterpart did actually have psychic powers and the story was set in the trenches. Still, the basic idea of my protagonist creating the legend of the Angel of Mons was there. I signed up for the full project and that’s where it really started.

I stuck with the idea of doing something based on a World War 1 Ghost story or supernatural story.


I brought up my ideas in a meeting in early 2015 at The Keep, and wrote a draft shortly afterwards. My first version of Oscar was actually called John! He still had psychic powers at this point.

By July 2015, the story was closer to the published version. Still set in the Trenches, John was now called Oscar and was a stage magician rather than a man with psychic powers. Originally, Oscar made the film whilst on the battlefield, rather than having it pre-recorded.

My story originally didn’t have much of a connection to Brighton, which would be needed for my story to make the cut. I researched some pre-World War One Ghost Stories in Preston Manor, and they formed Oscar’s backstory. Since ‘The Bowmen’, another famous adaptation of the Legend, might have not been in the public domain by this point, this made the stories different enough to be published.

Late in 2015, the story took on a shape similar to the one it was published in. The main differences were that the ending was longer, the middle of the story was still set in the Trenches and the title was “The Magician’s Ghost” not “The Flickering Phantoms”.

Towards the end of this year, we were assigned artists as partners. I was teamed up with James, who was also working on a script of his own for the book, as well as illustrating my story. Hats off to him!


Early in 2016, I was sent an email asking me to add more text to make it more clear what was happening. I added some text, but told the staff I wanted to keep the story “ambiguously supernatural”, for lack of a better term. I wanted people to wonder if there were real ghosts or not. The staff understood and agreed, and were fine with it.

Shortly after, James sent me some emails with suggestions and improvements. In his brilliant research, he found out two things that became part of newer drafts of the story: 1. we might have to use artistic license for the pepper’s ghost trick as it requires a glass pane 2. The Battle of Mons took place within the City of Mons itself. He suggesting changing the action from the trenches or a rural setting to the city itself.

At first, I was unsure about the idea of changing the setting, but then I thought of something. The City would probably have glass windows for the Trick to work, and in my research, I had found out early film reels were quite flammable. What could be a more exciting climax than outrunning a fire in the city?

Also, around this time, I think I did my posing in WW1-period clothing, that was eventually used in my bio in the book and on the first page of Flickering Phantoms.

I kept improving and refining my script. I was glad to have my main script finally finished. After doing all that story writing, writing non-fiction about myself and what inspired me to do the story was a piece of cake. They asked us to do mini-bios about ourselves and annotations for panels. I easily did both in a few days!

That was it for Brighton’s Graphic War until the Launch in November.

On the 11th of November, Remembrance day, the book was finally launched. It was an epic feeling, seeing my work finally in print. I did an interview, I signed copies of the book, I got my own copy and a free copy of another Queenspark book of my choice!

Then I did so more signings on 12 November at Dave’s comic shop.  It’s great to finally see my story in print and eBook form.

So that’s it for my Brighton’s Graphic War blog. I hope to collaborate with some of these people again.

Brighton’s Graphic War is available in print and eBook form, and will soon be available to borrow from Brighton & Hove Libraries. Five copies of this book will be distributed for free to every Primary and Secondary school in Brighton and Hove. eBook available for purchase here.

To visit QueenSpark Books’ project blog click here.

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The Big Friendly Read Finale – Jubilee Library


‘Dreams is full of mystery and magic . . . . Do not try to understand them.’ Roald Dahl, The BFG 

young-vols-stamp1The Jubilee children’s library became a world of pure imagination on Wednesday when everyone got involved in the Big Friendly Read showcase event, organised by the library young volunteers.

Armed with pens, pencils, stickers and googly eyes, the children got creative as they drew and wrote down their dreams to be hung in bottles on our Wish Tree. We saw all sorts of ideas, from owning an animal sanctuary to building fantastic things out of Lego. The end result was a dream collection that the BFG would have been proud of!


Children, staff and volunteers alike also embraced the spirit of the Big Friendly Read by dressing up as their favourite Roald Dahl characters. One of the most impressive costumes came from Ellis, one of the young volunteers, who transformed herself into a very blueberry-like Violet Beauregarde from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

29344400336_58f6bfb464_z29378412625_0a1404d2e7_zYoung participant Zach wrote this great account of taking part in the activities:

“Today I came to the library. We have been writing down our dreams and decorating bottles. We even made snozcumbers. Learning ‘frogscottle’ took quite a bit of research.”


The event was a fitting celebration of the Summer Reading Challenge as the end of the holidays draws near. Many people have already completed the challenge, and the Jubilee board of finishers is slowly filling up. For people who still need to collect prizes, the Challenge will continue until Roald Dahl Day on Tuesday 13 September, and those who visit Jubilee Library soon will get to see the Wish Tree in place.

Maise Hare

For a full set of photos from the event please visit our Flickr page

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Carlos’ Top 5 Giant Facts

young-vols-stamp1Hello Everyone, Carlos here. Keeping with the Summer Reading Challenge theme, and in celebration of one of Roald Dahl’s most famous works, ‘The BFG’, I have decided to look at giants and gigantic things of all kinds.


5. Komodo Dragon – The Komodo Dragon is a living example of Island Gigantism, where animals living on islands become much larger than their relatives elsewhere. It is much more uncommon and less well-known than the reverse, Island Dwarfism, where animals living on islands become much smaller than their relatives elsewhere.

4. The Cyclops – The Cyclopes (plural of Cyclops) were a race of one-eyed giants from Greek Mythology. The original group of Cyclopes were metal workers and blacksmiths, who helped Cronus overthrow Uranus, then they helped Zeus overthrow Cronus, after Cronus betrayed them. The Cyclopes also forged Poseidon’s trident and gave Hades a helmet of invisibility. Their descendants became shepherds and lived on islands south of Greece. One of these Cyclopes, Polyphemus, fought the Greek Hero Odysseus.

3. Giant Squid & Colossal Squid – Another example of a biological event that often makes animals bigger is Deep-Sea Gigantism, where species of invertebrates and other deep-sea dwelling organisms are much larger than their shallower water relatives. The giant squid and the colossal squid are the perfect examples of this, with the maximum size for giant squid being 43 ft (females) and 33 ft (for males), the maximum size for colossal squid being between 39 feet to 46 feet, and possibly weighing up to 750 kilograms.


Image result for robert wadlow2. The Barnes Noble Bookstore at 105 Fifth Ave at 18th Street, New York City, USA – This Barnes & Noble Bookstore is the world’s biggest bookshop, covering 154,250ft² and having 12.87 miles of shelving.

1. Robert Wadlow – At 8 feet and 11 inches tall, Robert Wadlow is the tallest man in recorded medical history, and currently holds the Guinness World Record for World’s tallest man. Sadly, Wadlow died only aged 22, due to a septic blister on his right ankle caused by a poorly fitted brace, which had been installed only a week earlier. But his legacy as history’s tallest man lives on.

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Upcoming exhibition at Jubilee Library – Shane James

Image result for arts award For the past year I have been working on my Silver Arts Award, a program funded by Brighton & Hove Youth Service for young people. A contributing factor to this award is displaying your work; thankfully Jubilee Library has agreed to accommodate my work.

My work is a combination of line drawings inspired by graphic design and has a common running theme of entertainment elements. Movies, books and music were my aspirations i.e. Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and David Bowie.

shaneThe duration of time it takes to complete a drawing varies with each piece. For example, a free hand drawing can take me a total of 5 minutes to think up and complete. Whereas, a drawing like my pulp fiction inspired piece can take me a few hours to complete. The process of completing a drawing consists of doodling until I’m happy with the size and juxtaposition. I always doodle in pencil and go over with pen.

Never before have I had my very own exhibition so I’m curious to see how it is received by the public. With Jubilee Library being a central location in Brighton, I’m equally nervous as I am excited. The feeling I have is similar to that of when you’re about to get on a rollercoaster at a theme park.

Shane James

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REVIEW: Boys Don’t Cry by Malorie Blackman

young-vols-stamp1I am a huge fan of Malorie Blackman and advocate of her work ever since I first read Noughts and Crosses many years ago. Not only does Blackman create extremely well written books with relatable characters, but she also tackles difficult, sometimes controversial, subjects for YA literature, in an honest and thought-provoking way. Boy’s Don’t Cry is a powerful and unexpected novel. 


Boys Don’t Cry is told from two points of view, Dantes’ and Adams’ – to begin with the reason for this is unclear and though I liked Adam’s upbeat narrative in contrast to Dante’s, I couldn’t figure out why we were switching between the two. This lasted for about 70 pages and from then on I was hooked. I hadn’t realizsd when I started reading Boys Don’t Cry that this was a book about much, much, more than just teenage parenthood – Blackman has blended together two stories that deal with two very different topics. I’m not going to spoil it for anyone by telling you everything this one book manages to cover, and cover well. I will say that though, that while I loved both stories, it was Adam I grew particularly attached to as a character, and it was his voice and his journey that struck me the hardest and stayed with me long after I had finished reading it.


Image result for boys don't cry malorie blackmanBoys Don’t Cry takes a unique look at being a teenage parent, as it is told from the boys point of view. I have to applaud Blackman for choosing to do this as it is a topic that young male readers should be able to read about and because too often (in life and in books) the father is either forgotten, or considered less important in a child’s life. Then there is the stereotype that if anyone will walk away, it will be the father. In typical fashion, Blackman disputes all these assumptions (and more) in Boy’s Don’t Cry. She is an author you can depend upon to challenge the every day stereotypes all around us – her writing makes you think and I love her for it.

A few scenes that stood out for me were when Dante takes his daughter out for the first time and has to deal with strangers’ prejudices and judgment once they learn Emma is his. I see and hear people dismissing young parents all the time, always assuming they are lazy and exploiting the benefit system. By experiencing this type of public reaction with Dante, Blackman really hits home just how hurtful and wrong it is to judge people without knowing them – reminding us that just because someone is a young parent – doesn’t mean they are a bad one.


Though Boys Don’t Cry focuses on the prejudices young dads receive in our society, here Blackman briefly touches on how young mothers are looked down on and treated by society as well – you can almost see the word ‘slut’ forming in this woman’s mind as she looks at Collette. It is a sharp reminder not to judge Melanie too harshly for running out (another stereotype – it is considered pretty normal for the father to leave, but unforgivable if the mother does), as this is doubtless what she would of dealt over and over again, on her own, for the past 18 months.

Blackman also writes some fantastic scenes surrounding the local social worker. We immediately feel as defensive towards her as Dante does and assume she is not only a busybody poking her nose in but also that she is out to trick Dante and wants to take Emma away from him. Why do automatically feel this way? It seems not a day can go by without the paper’s reporting something derogatory about social workers. I loved that as we, and Dante, got to know her a little better, we see that this woman only wants the best for Emma and is, in reality, there to help Dante keep his daughter. It was great, for once, to see a social worker portrayed as someone who cares, who has a difficult, at times impossible, job, and who has to deal with an unfair reputation. I think society in general forgets what an incredibly hard and incredibly amazing job these people can, and do, do. Once again we have another character who, in their own way, has to fight against society’s opinion of them, a character who has been judged unfairly; prompting the reader to confront their own reactions and their own prejudices as they read.

Image result for malorie blackmanWatching Dante fall in love with his daughter is heart-warming without being overly sentimental – the tone in this book is just right to appeal to young male and female readers. What’s so great about Boys Don’t Cry is that it isn’t a cute story. It deals with the harsh reality of life as a teenage parent and doesn’t shy away from difficult and, at times, shocking truths. Dante doesn’t love his daughter immediately, or choose her above his own desires – it is hard, he has to make many sacrifices and deal with a lot of pressure from everyone around him. He comes close to breaking down and almost hits Emma – a feeling/moment I’m sure a lot of stressed out parents can relate to, but one that no one really talks about. We come to understand that coming close to snapping doesn’t make Dante a bad person, but walking away from the situation and asking for help does make him a good father. Throughout there is a lovely family dynamic and I enjoyed reading how certain events bring this family closer together and how they come out all the more stronger for it.

If Dante’s story is touching, Adam’s story is hard-hitting and heart-breaking. Already a strong piece of fiction, this is what made Boys Don’t Cry unforgettable for me. Both Adam and Dante are ostracized by society but for very different reasons and watching them deal with that, and reading about what happens them, is both upsetting and uplifting – particularly in Adam’s case. I loved his character from the start.

What made this novel so brilliant for me were the characters. All of them, even the secondary characters, felt very real – we can identify with them. Reading this story and experiencing things from a different point of view makes us question our own opinions and prejudices. Boys Don’t Cry tackles many important subjects. It shows us the importance of understanding, compassion and acceptance – and the power of words. The courage to be yourself and to confront ignorance and hatred in all its forms. A stunning book that every one should pick up, regardless of age or gender – because I think you will learn something about yourself and others by the end of it. Beautiful story, beautiful characters and beautiful narration. And yes – it made me cry.


Jade Nikoloff

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Carlos’ Five Roald-Reads

young-vols-stamp1Hi everyone! Carlos here, and due to the theme of this year’s summer reading challenge being Roald Dahl books, I figured I could write a blog themed around the man himself. Here are 5 Roald Dahl-related books for you to read. It’s not a top 5, and the numbering is essentially arbitrary. Some of these books he wrote himself, others are by other people but still have a direct or indirect connection to him. Let’s get to it!

Image result for roald dahl dicitonary5. Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary

Available to hire from Brighton and Hove libraries, this book contains words Roald Dahl used in his stories, both everyday words and his own invented words. Containing illustrations by Quentin Blake, and examples from his other books. Examples include: “Propsposterous-adjective- ridiculous or extremely silly. They maybe is looking a bit Propsposterous to you…-The BFG”


4. Oliver Twist

Dahl greatly enjoyed the works of Charles Dickens. I have chosen Oliver Twist due to the child protagonist, which is trait shared in the works of Dahl, and the common theme of food, which also often appears in works of Dahl. A graphic novel adaptation is available from Brighton and Hove libraries.



Image result for captain underpants3. Captain Underpants

Roald Dahl Books and the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey actually have a lot in common. From untrustworthy adults, to heroic adult foils, to toilet humour, the shared DNA between the books and the appeal to children is very clear. Most of the Captain underpants series is available from Brighton and Hove libraries.



2. The Far From Great Escape Or The Light The Switch and The Wardrobe

Way back in 2009, Philip Ardagh won the “Roald Dahl Funny Prize” for the first of his Grubtown Tales books, and in 2010 he was a Judge for the Roald Dahl Funny prize. This is the second book in the series. Other installments are also available from the library.



Image result for the bfg book1. The BFG

Figured it would be nice to finish with a classic, what with the name of this year’s reading challenge being “The Big Friendly Read” and the new movie out this year. The original book, audiobook adaptations, stage adaptations and the animated film are all available from Brighton and Hove libraries. Quote from “1001 Children’s books you must read before you grow up”: “The BFG manages to be as marvelously silly as we expect from Dahl, while at the same time sustaining an exciting and tense plot. The BFG is a charming hero, and the addition of the down-to-earth and sympathetic Queen to the cast is inspired”


There are many other Roald Dahl and Dahlesque books available from Brighton and Hove libraries. I hope you enjoy them!

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