A day to celebrate reading

National Days sometimes seem to get a little out of hand. One day last week, for example, was National Watermelon Day – good only for the sharing of the Dirty Dancing “I carried a watermelon” quote. But today is one of which we most heartily approve. It is National Book Lovers Day, according to Twitter at least.

It’s never too early to start encouraging a love of books and for that we say a big than

Read - the BFG Dream Jar by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall
Read – the BFG Dream Jar by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall

k you to all the public libraries that don’t blink an eyelid when children’s books are returned with soggy, chewed corners and ripped pages. Books should look lived in and loved. Then comes school and the hard task of learning to read, which does rather remove the fun of it for some little people – you can see the real physical effort that goes in to reading a whole sentence and the pride that comes with it. One of my god-daughters, aged 10 (where does the time go?), is a huge Roald Dahl fan and we spent the weekend exploring the fantastic BFG Dream Jars trails across London. This one, Read, is by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and was the one we really wanted to see. The Duchess is an active advocate of reading and literacy, becoming Patron of Roald Dahl 100 ( and of wonderful organisations such as the National Literacy Trust and Book Trust (

Everything that encourages young people to read is to be applauded wildly and loudly and librarians are a huge part of that. And when those wonderful, kind-hearted library professionals turn into authors… Ok, disclaimer time, the person I’m about to mention is my cousin. I hope you’ll forgive me. I think it’s fair to say that library and information professionals are big advocates of continuing professional development, of pushing themselves to do more, learn more and be even more helpful, all in pursuit of helping their library users. Imagine writing a book that will magically appear on your own library shelves and having a wonderful time visiting schools and public libraries to talk about writing and about reading and about magic. James Nicol ( has done just that – he works for Cambridgeshire Libraries as Development Manager, having worked as Adult Stock and Promotions Manager too, and has published his first book, The Apprentice Witch, which is delighting children and adults alike. I think he must have magical powers to fit everything in to his day. But librarians are magical people…

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