National Accreditation for Seven Stories

Seven Stories Gains ‘National’ Accreditation

Seven Stories is to be officially known as the National Centre for Children’s Books, following approval by Arts Council England.

Seven Stories is the only accredited museum in the UK that specialises in children’s books. Since opening in 2005 the Centre has gained a strong following in the North East, with its unique collection, exhibitions and learning programmes attracting national and international recognition and acclaim. The new name, ‘Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books’ was approved by Arts Council England following rigorous assessment, as part of its UK wide responsibility for the museum Accreditation scheme. Seven Stories becomes the only museum in the North East with the word ‘National’ in its title.

Kate Edwards, Chief Executive at Seven Stories said:
“British children’s literature is internationally acclaimed for its inventiveness and creativity. Its ability to inspire and to change the lives of its readers is well understood. That a National home for children’s books was pioneered, supported and built here in the North East is an achievement we can all be proud of. We are grateful to everyone who has supported us through donations and funding, through their hard work and through their belief in us. We will work hard to meet the expectations and responsibilities that National status brings us. The title does not automatically bring new funds, so support from our friends to help us to save, celebrate and share our literary heritage for children with children and families today, and for future generations, will be important in the years to come.”

Alison Clark-Jenkins, Regional Director, Arts Council England added:
“Seven Stories is a fantastic venue and resource, and has long been a favourite for children, school groups and families in the region, so I’m very pleased to say it is now formally known as the National Centre for Children’s Books. The organisation has gained this recognition to reflect the national significance of its work to protect and celebrate children’s literature not only for the North East, but the rest of the UK. I hope this new recognition will open up even more doors and opportunities for Seven Stories.”

Seven Stories’ patron, Lord Beecham of Benwell and Newcastle also commented:
“The accolade of designation as the National Centre for Children’s Books is the latest chapter in a history of achievement by Seven Stories and its dedicated staff. Its national reputation and status underline the significant role of culture and the Arts in the region, and its work with local schools and children underpin at the practical day to day level its work as the curator of significant archive material of national and international significance.”

Seven Stories’ Collection holds national significance and international interest, containing original material showcasing examples of modern and contemporary children’s literature from the 1930s to the present day. The focus of the Collection is not just the finished book but the whole process that goes into the making of a children’s book – from first drafts to dummy books, illustrations and related correspondence. The Collection contains the work of more than 100 authors and illustrators including Philip Pullman, David Almond, Judith Kerr, and Enid Blyton and around 30,000 books. (A full list can be found at www.sevenstories.org.uk/collection/authors-and-illustrators ).

David Almond, author, Seven Stories patron and donor to the Collection said:
“I'm delighted to hear this great news. Seven Stories truly is a place of wonder - creative, energetic, inspirational, optimistic. Like the best books, (and the best children!) it is serious and playful, rigorous and playful, civilised and slightly wild. It shows that children's literature matters to us all, that it sits at the very heart of our culture. This 'National' status is hugely-deserved and will bring even more recognition to this unique organisation.”

The Seven Stories Collection is accessible not only to researchers but to young people and their families, through the exhibitions and learning programmes. Once the exhibitions have been on show at Seven Stories they then tour nationally to venues across the UK. Exhibitions currently on tour include Anthony Browne, Jacqueline Wilson and Puffin Books.

Jacqueline Wilson, author and Seven Stories’ patron said:
“I am delighted that Seven Stories is now becoming the National Centre for Children's Books, in recognition of its excellent comprehensive and creative work. It's established a wonderful exhibition programme to delight families and built up an outstanding archive of children's literature.”

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