On 17th and 18th October I was delighted to attend the CILIP Youth Libraries Group, National Conference in Durham.  It was wonderful to meet so many enthusiastic Local Authority and School Librarians, who despite current financial challenges, are excited about children’s books and eager to enthuse their users about books and reading.  Over the two days, we were treated to a great line-up of speakers from the children's literature world including: authors such as Elizabeth Laird, Jackie Morris, and David Almond (all of whom are represented in Seven Stories’ archive collection); Prue Goodwin (lecturer and author of books about children’s literature); and Wendy Cooling (former head of the Children’s Book Foundation now known as ‘Book Trust’).

The magnificent Conference Gala Dinner was attended by a whole host of librarians, local dignitaries, publisher representatives, authors and illustrators.  Impassioned speeches about the importance of libraries were given by both Carnegie Medal 2014 winner author Kevin Brooks, and author Mal Peet (a former Carnegie medal winner).  During the proceedings I was presented, on behalf of Seven Stories, with a delightful piece of signed original artwork by Edward Ardizzone.  Apparently, in 1957, it was decided to have a special bookplate designed for items in the Library Association Youth Libraries Section (now known as CILIP Youth Libraries Group) collection.  Edward Ardizzone agreed to design the bookplate, and a fee of 10 guineas was accepted.

This is a lovely addition to our existing Ardizzone holdings which include artwork for two of his titles 'Tim in Danger', ’Tim and Charlotte' and his artwork for Graham Greene's, 'The Little Train'.

Tea and lunch breaks throughout the conference were sponsored by different Publishers during which delegates were treated to an amazing array of ‘book themed’ cupcakes!  One batch that particularly took my eye, were those provided by Macmillan Children's Books in celebration of eight titles in a new Classics edition, which include two titles by Ursula Moray Williams which are represented in our archive collection - Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse.

One of the conference Workshop sessions was led by Seven Stories, and centred on our recently announced book list, ‘Diverse Voices – 50 of the Best Children’s Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK’.   Here are Debbie Beeks (Learning & Participation Manager) and Jake Hope (Freelance Children's Book Consultant) leading the workshop.

To find out more about ‘Diverse Voices’ and to see the list of 50 titles follow this link:

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the conference and even came back to work with 48 Proof copies of books (due to be published in 2015) for our Staff Library as well!

By Paula Wride - Seven Stories Collections Officer

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