Tuesday, 25 February 2014

DIY Futures: the library tour

When’s the last time you stepped inside a Powys library?

I was at Welshpool Library last week for the launch in the library service of the DIY Futures book – It’s the inside that matters - which Jane wrote about in January…  And a whole group of us chatted, drank tea, munched on grapes and digestive biscuits… and generally had a good old chinwag about the book, the Light the Way (mental health action group) meeting later that afternoon, the benefits of volunteering, and how many of us had lost freezer contents to the power cuts of the previous week… 

Which was great.  But what we noticed was… how different it felt to library experiences of the past. No one said “Ssssh!! Be quiet, you’re not allowed to talk above the level of a whisper in here…”  No one told us to pack away the nibbles and clear out with our cups…  Instead we were made welcome to share the content and success of the book with other library-goers and staff in our own DIY way. 

Many of the beneficiaries of the DIY Futures 1:1 service, which came to an end in March 2013, were there. Two of them gave short readings from the book. The event was accompanied by an exhibition of artwork created especially for this unique publication:

"This artwork was produced through a series of visual poetry workshops run by Celf o Gwmpas using their artist in residence programme. The workshop leader was Sean Burn, an outsider artist with a growing international reputation. His work challenges the language of racism and “reclaims the language of lunacy”; emphasising the way in which the language of illness pathologises natural responses to the ups and downs of life and for some people extreme circumstances, such as abuse, violence and neglect.

These challenges to established thinking parallel the work of DIY and the book. Instead of starting with symptoms and diagnosis, set ways of being told by someone else – this is who you are – the work of DIY started with the person – who you are, what do you want to change and what support do you need." Jane Cooke, DIY Futures Project Manager

This event is one of three taking place in the county libraries as the DIY Futures project draws to a close at the end of March 2014. Colleagues were welcomed at Ystradgynlais Library last Thursday, and are looking forward to attending Brecon Library on Wednesday 26th February (with the added bonus of a trip to The Hours cafĂ© to look at the artwork and eat cake). 

The Powys library service has welcomed the book into its collections enthusiastically, and we would like to thank the staff for their support in this and the book’s ongoing promotion.

If you would like to borrow the DIY Futures book, each Powys library now has a copy in its lending collection. If you prefer to read books on a digital device such as a laptop, tablet, ebook reader or smartphone, we are working on an ebook which we hope will be available soon.

Have you been to your library lately? Tell us what you think, and the sort of books you would like to see stocked on the shelves alongside It’s the inside that matters.

Chatting to library staff about the DIY Futures book It's the inside that matters

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