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Our 29 libraries offer a wide and progressively dynamic range of services, events and activities year round, from talks and tastings to code clubs and walking groups. ONFife Libraries provide access to an extensive library catalogue with over 494,000 titles to choose across ordinary print, large print, talking book, DVD, eBook, eAudiobook and eMagazine. By borrowing from us rather than purchasing books, Fifers saved a staggering £10,315,788.31 this year!
Throughout the year, ONFife libraries have offered a unique range of Learning Opportunities. Building on our first foray in to hosting Fun Palaces, in October 2017 we were able to present more activities in more locations, from creative writing in Kirkcaldy to turning fruit and vegetables into musical instruments in Cupar. We built on existing relationships with the Dunfermline Folk Club, Fife Writes and Fife Craft Association and built new ones with Cupar Arts, Kirkcaldy Art Club, TAYTA and Kirkcaldy Knit Club. 165 members of the public took part in this campaign for community-based access to arts and science.
The modernisation of Fife’s Library Service started with a major consultation on the future development of the service with 2,379 members of the public completing the survey and 108 taking part in qualitative research. The information collated is being used to create a new vision for Fife’s libraries, with improved opening hours and a suite of services we are continually developing. Our new vision strategy will be announced and unpacked during 2018/19.
In collaboration with Scottish Book Trust, we have been fortunate enough to work with a Digital Storyteller since the summer of 2017. Dan Brown has met with groups and individuals in Glenrothes to give them the tools necessary to create their own digital story. Children with special needs, Alzheimer’s patients, Age Concern clients, a refugee who has made Glenrothes her home and a very powerful transgender journey are just some of the stories Dan has helped participants create. The 87 participants found the process of sharing their stories empowering and cathartic, whilst raising their confidence with digital skills. Many of these stories are now available to view via the Trust’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/onfife.
To coincide with Halloween, Murder Mystery events took a magical turn with guest company Can You Catch the Killer? visiting Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries to test the deductive skills of our audiences with a wizarding school twist for the occasion. Two adult orientated sell-out events took place in our Canmore Room, bringing in 180 Muggles and Wizards to our especially decorated Hogwarts room.
Book Week Scotland brought a nutritional theme with it, giving participants a flavour of the breadth of our services. 7,895 attendees of all ages took part in events throughout the week, an increase of 91% (due to the enhanced junior and teen programme). Events ranged from bread & poetry in Kelty to Macbeth in 60 minutes for school audiences. The evening programme for families was again free of charge thanks to funding from Fife Council Area Committees, making them inclusive for all.
Glenrothes Comic Con’s debut at Rothes Halls in June 2017 was a huge success, attracting 3,127 fans. Working with the Kingdom Centre, Go Glenrothes and Fife Council, we were able to bring in guest artists from across the UK and welcome the car stars from the Transformers films. The range of costumes worn by those attending was magnificent, with a special mention to a Jedi master and Wicked Queen who spent a huge amount of time posing for photographs and handing out apples.
Bookbug session figures increased in 2017/18 due to the re-opening of DCLG, new sessions such as British Sign Language and Gaelic & Scots sessions, and the continued success of Bookbug Buggy Walks. There were 33 sessions during Bookbug Week alone, with a flag ship launch in partnership with Scottish Book Trust at DCLG and a well-attended family event at Rothes Halls, plus an offer of evening and weekend sessions for families. Bookbug is present in all 7 local areas with a Fife wide total of 1,191 sessions (50% increase on 2016/17), an overall attendance of 25,627 (54% increase on 2016/17), with 13,425 (up 55%) children and 12,202 (up 54%) adults enjoying the free, fun and friendly sessions.
27 of our 37 libraries (including mobiles and integrated facilities) ran Bookbug sessions during this period resulting in 10,523 issues and 244 new members. 13 libraries were identified as being in areas of deprivation and ran 474 sessions reaching 8,040 children and adults, while the majority of outreach work was held on areas of deprivation or in areas where there are no libraries within easy walking distance (311 outreach sessions in total, reaching 802 children and adults). In addition, 120 people were trained as session leaders across libraries, schools and community settings.
The Schools Library Service continues to flourish now providing 100% coverage of Fife primary schools. In 2016/17, 97% of all 135 primary schools in Fife used the service rising to a fantastic 100% in 2017/18. The service provides project boxes to schools who request them based on their chosen projects each term. Each project box contains up to 25 books. The number of project boxes dispatched from our central unit in Glenrothes grew from 4,505 in 2016/17 to 4,827 in 2017/18 – an increase of almost 7%. Within these boxes, book issues grew to 98,820 issues this year, a 12% rise on the previous cycle.
Our children’s holiday activities are well supported; there were 27 Easter-themed craft activities, held over 24 Libraries. Eventas were held throughout Fife, with representation in each of the 7 areas. Over 260 children and 140 adults attended, with 280 books being issued.
Our October events took on a spooky theme with 15 events, featuring a series of ghostly Scots traditional tales retold by Tony Bonning. Once again, all areas in the region held events with over 800 children and 600 adults attending. In total we ran 48 events in 28 libraries.
In partnership with Levenmouth Academy, the Young People’s Services team has been working with S1 pupils to raise enthusiasm for reading for pleasure during secondary school years. This project draws on our successful primary school offer, with age-appropriate adjustments. A series of author events and creative workshops was structured around a list of shortlist books to engage pupils in discussion about books and stories and lead to the Levenmouth S1 Book Awards.