Why it’s good for librarians to go to literary festivals

Why do we go to the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival and The Press Christchurch Writers Festival? There are a variety of reasons. The Christchurch City Libraries blog kicked off in 2007 covering the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival – we wanted to share the festival delights with our readers in the same way that we share book information at the desk. It was the ideal way to launch into the blogosphere – a literary festival gives you interesting writers and ideas on tap.

Here are some more reasons why librarians are good festival goers:

Professional and personal development

  • Emily Rodda and RachelWhen you are at a festival, you are totally immersed.
    For a few days, you live fully in the world of books, reading and writing.
    In a busy world, it is wonderful to have time and space to think about ideas.
  • Readers’ advisory skills are enhanced.
    You can communicate about an author and their work at a new level when you have seen them talk, or have interviewed them.
  •  Writing skills are honed.
    A literary festival is a fast turnaround environment. Attending sessions, doing interviews, and then writing is a cauldron which refines bloggers into lean, mean, writing machines.
  • Technical skills are exercised (and improved).
    We learn to work with audio equipment, laptops, cameras, software and more.

Librarians are festival fit

  • Excited by ideas and love to share.
    It is in our librarian DNA that if we read or hear something interesting and relevant, we want to communicate it. The library blog and website is an ideal forum to do this, and with social media we can link people to that information.
  • Showing the place of librarians in the literary world.
    Festival-going librarians make links with publishers, publicists, writers, journalists, reviewers, and readers – all the varieties of book fanciers. We chat in queues, have quick discussions before sessions, and generally make literary connections left, right, and all over the place. I don’t think I could say it better than Jolisa Gracewood (tweeting as @nzdodo):
    “He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. (Also, he pukapuka.)”

2012 coverage

Roberta and Jeffrey EugenidesA team of five librarians from Christchurch City Libraries – Rachel Huston, Joyce Fraser, Roberta Smith, Bronwyn Smith and Donna Robertson – went to Auckland to cover the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival 2012. Our objective was to share the festival flavour via blog posts, interviews, and photos.

The team produced 45 blog posts including a guest post from Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa editor Moata Tamaira on Rhys Darby. We interviewed ten authors including: Charlotte Wood, Peter James, and Jeffrey Eugenides. A slew of tweets, Facebook posts and photos supported and promoted our work.