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A Good Home for Books by Elizabeth Hawksley

May 21, 2013

 I’ve now been the UK Children’s Book Editor for the Historical Novel Society Review for some months and overseen the children’s reviews for the November, February and May issues.  It’s been very interesting; I like knowing what’s new in historical novels, and eight interested members of the HNS help with the reviewing.

 What I hadn’t realized, though, was how the books would pile up. There are points when I can scarcely see the carpet in my study.  OK, a number are waiting to be posted to reviewers, but that still leaves a pile which I’ve reviewed but don’t have room to keep, plus a few books which are unsuitable for reviewing (i.e. not really historical).

Tony Brown and Elizabeth Hawksley

Tony Brown and Elizabeth Hawksley

What to do with them? I’m a great fan of public libraries and, in these cash-strapped times, they need all the support they can get. I emailed Tony Brown, the stock and reader development manager for Islington libraries, and explained the situation.  All I wanted, I said, was for the books to go to a good home. Would he be interested?

Almost immediately, I got a reply.  Yes, please. He’d be delighted to have them.  So I parcelled them up, addressed it to Tony Brown, and staggered to my nearest library – there were a lot of books and they were heavy.

 The May HNS Review has just come out, so a new pile of books need a good home. They are:

The Disgrace of Kitty Grey by Mary Hooper

SOS Lusitania by Kevin Kiely

The Positively Last Performance by Geraldine McCaughrean

Song Hunter by Sally Prue

Sun Catcher by Sheila Rance

The Hidden Gift by Ian Somers (the non-historical one which slipped through the net)

Queenie by Jacqueline Wilson

This time I did something different. I thought it would make an interesting blog, so I suggested to Tony that I bring them myself and say ‘Hello’. I’d bring my camera and perhaps a kind colleague could photograph us both, plus the books.

So here we are, in Islington Central children’s library.

However, that’s not the end of the story. There is an interesting sequel …

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Alison Allen-Gray permalink
    May 22, 2013 9:35 pm

    A great idea, Elizabeth. This will mean that many other people can read the books and, hopefully, enjoy them as much as you did.

  2. June 2, 2013 7:14 pm

    I always used to do this with review books, and I still see many of the books I donated in my local library. But a few years ago, when I took in a couple of bags full of books, the librarian refused them without even looking at them and suggested, dismissively, that I should “try the charity shops”. Admittedly the staff had changed and didn’t know me, but it was a real put-down, as if I was trying to offload some junk. I wondered if there had been a change of policy, but your experience suggests not.

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