ASSOCIATES (vol. 6, no. 3, March 2000) -

The Latest News on the
book IT Project

     Regular readers of Associates may recall that I wrote an article for the November 1998 edition called 'A Time to Celebrate'. This was an introduction to a project called Book IT, due to take place on 24th June 2000.

     Since that time a huge amount of work has taken place not only to develop the idea but also to ensure that everyone can take part. So what is the Book IT project ? For those who have not yet seen the press release or the web sites at or at, here is a brief introduction.

     The BookIT project is a project set up by the Library Association's Affiliate Members Group to demonstrate and promote the different ways that libraries in all sectors provide services for their users. It is an opportunity for school, academic, and corporate libraries to organise local events around a central theme. The project is designed to be as inclusive as possible, encouraging libraries from all over the world and library staff of all levels to get involved.

     The chosen theme is Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream. On Saturday 24th June, 2000 the project aims to encourage as many people as possible to interact with Midsummer Nights Dream in as many ways as possible.

     Here are a few ideas for a themed event:

     Bob Usherwood, the 1998 Library Association President says of the project "Regardless of format, libraries organise and communicate information, ideas and works of imagination. The Book IT project demonstrates this in an exciting way by building bridges between technologies, the past and the future."

     There have been many disappointments with developing this project but one of the greatest successes has been the involvement of the British Film Institute. They have produced a special limited edition poster, which is to be distributed across the country to those who have requested it. To make this year's Annual General Meeting of the Affiliated Members Group, being held at the British Library in London on 4th April, more exciting the Chief Executive of the Library Association will be presented with a framed copy of the poster before he addresses the meeting.

     Along with the Library Association Marketing Department, the British Film Institute has provided much needed advice and support as the project developed. It 's been a 'steep learning curve' for us all, but much appreciated I can say. This is another aspect of the whole project in that arranging your own part of the project can be part of your own learning curve. What to do, how to plan it, who to get permission from, and how to present it to the public are all things which library staff can be good at, given the opportunity.

     But perhaps even more important has been the response from people all over Britain, and from abroad. The all-important concept for the project is that everyone can take part !

     The Nottingham Playhouse Theatre is planning a new angle on the 'seen the movie - got the video angle' with a 'see the play - now read the book' approach with a new production of the play in September and are planning an adaptation of the play for schools. They have offered to assist other groups with their own projects. Perhaps with some display space in the theatre and the possibility of a visit by theatre actors. I think this has great potential for future activities, and need not be restricted to professional theatre but local theatre groups as well.

     Herefordshire Libraries and Information Service are hoping to take part with one of their libraries, at Ross-On-Wye, on the edge of the Forest of Dean, where there is a model of the set for Midsummer Nights Dream will be on display, as well as play readings and a variety of formats for displaying texts. Meanwhile the library at Crawley, part of the West Sussex Libraries Group, are due to start their Crawley Festival with a Book IT display on 24th June. They will also be taking out their mobile library van.

     It would be wrong to say that only public libraries are taking part, as schools are also taking part. One school has said that while it has a very small school library it plans to use the event as part of a language course. They have connected via the Internet and e-mail with a couple of schools in Europe and rather than just discuss music and fashion will be able to converse on the topic of Midsummer Nights Dream as part of a proper language lesson.

     We can not forget of course the interest that there has been from other parts of the world. Carol Borzyskowski at Winona Public Library is keen to support the project. Have a look at her pages at

     It has always been the idea to include the smallest library in this project, and you can not get much smaller than The Bristol Art Library run by Annabel Other. She is a performance artist and was heartbroken when the original Bristol Art Library closed some time ago, so she decided to keep its name alive and become The Head Librarian !! She plans a number of fine art performances on the South West Coast, complete with a copy of our poster !

     As a late entry I have recently had enquires from Australia and Tasmania!

     But let us finish with a look at Shropshire County Libraries web page at   They say that, as Shakespeare was a West Midlands author, the West Midlands Creative Literature Collection will be hoping to taking part.

     For those who have just thought of joining, you can fill in the following response sheet and let me have it back. If you have a web page with details of your Book IT project, please let me have the address so that it can be added to our new page at the Library Association web pages, and have your message spread around the world.

The Most Exciting Part of Book IT for June 24th

     The next stage of the project from a co-operative point of view is to gather together news of your various events, weither they be big or small.

     What I would like you to do is give me a small article or press release on your project, and details of any web site you might have set up or added new web pages too. I will then add all these reports to a new web page at our web site at the Library Association. This page will contain active links to all existing or new pages. DO NOT worry if you only have a small link in a county web page or something you have created yourself.

     To gather all this information together please complete the following form and return it to me, either as a paper copy or an e-mail.

Book IT project details:

Name:________________________ Position:_________________________

Postal Address:__________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

Short details of BookIT project in your area _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Web address:__________________ Email:_________________________

     Please return form to: Jim Jackson, at or post it to: The Law Library, The University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, Devon EX4 4RT Or fax it to me at 01392 263871

     I hope that the 24th June will be a great day, or part of a general celebration in your area, and that people will just for a while, perhaps, be grateful to their library service for the variety of formats in which they can access information.

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