Everyone is invited to share their favourite book and has the chance to see it in Swindon’s new £10 million Central Library when it opens on Monday 20 October.
Swindon Borough Council is buying more than 17,000 books for the award-winning new building and people are now being asked to name their favourite books so that the council can do its best to make sure it is on the shelves for everyone to enjoy.
It can be any book – fact or fiction, adult or children's – for any reason. Postcards for people to fill in and return are available at all 15 libraries plus the mobile library, leisure centres, community centres across the town, and also the One Stop Shop, on the ground floor of Wat Tyler House, in Princes Street, Swindon.
Or register your choice at: www.swindon.gov.uk/favouritebooks
To get people started, council staff and members of the cabinet have revealed what they like to read.
Councillor Justin Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Recreation, right, is a firm believer that football is poetry – and indeed literature – in motion. “For me it has to be Lovejoy On Football: One Man’s Passion For The Most Important Subject In The World, by Tim Lovejoy.
"I’m a big football fan so just anything which relates to the beautiful game gets my approval. But this campaign is a fantastic opportunity to really engage with residents and make sure that this wonderful new facility reflects their reading tastes. I look forward to hearing all about people’s favourite books.”
Gavin Jones, Swindon Borough Council Chief Executive, admits that his favourite book tends to change, but there is one which deserves special mention. “The trouble is my favourite is often the one I've just read, but on balance I would say it was Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome. I first read it when I was about 16 and have read it a few times since. I think it is the only book that has made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion.”
Swindon Borough Council Leader Councillor Roderick Bluh and Deputy Leader Cllr Fionuala Foley are both avid readers. And it’s not just Council agendas which take pride of place on their bedside tables.
Cllr Bluh is a big fan of thrillers and his favourite authors include Dick Francis and John Grisham. “Proof, by Dick Francis, was a great read – full of drama, suspense and intrigue, like all his novels," said Rod. "I particularly like his books because they are based around horse racing. Having lived in Newbury right by its racecourse for many years, I can relate to this subject – the books really bring it to life.”
Cllr Foley’s reading tastes are varied – from crime fiction by authors including Simon Kernick and Peter James to the Irish novelist Cathy Kelly. She said, “books are a brilliant way to switch off and escape. I like thrillers – something that gets the heart going and Cathy Kelly, true to my Irish roots, is perfect for a beach read.
“One book which made a really lasting impression was In The Absence Of Angels, by Elizabeth Glaser. It shows the amazing strength and fortitude of a mother in the face of huge adversity. That book is still on my shelf at home.”
As Head of Library Services, books are a big part of Allyson Jordan’s working life – but she still finds reading a brilliant way to relax at home. “I started out as a children’s librarian, so have always had an interest there. My all-time favourite would have to be the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. The way he develops characters is fantastic – it takes you to another world.”
Completed postcards can be handed into a Swindon library or the One Stop Shop or posted to: Favourite Books, Allyson Jordan, Head of Library Services, Premier House, Swindon, SN1 1TZ.
The council may not be possible to purchase books that are no longer available, or not suitable for public loan.