Book Week Scotland: A Joint Reading Festival

Anne De'Ath is the librarian at Eastwood High School in East Renfrewshire. The school has recently moved into a new school building which makes their decision to mark Book Week Scotland by inviting a local primary school to a book festival even more of a celebration. She tells us how, with support from Live Literature Funding, she has arranged the mini festival to inspire other schools to plan similar programmes in the future.

On 26 November, during Book Week Scotland, we are holding a Joint Reading Festival with one of our associated primaries, Crookfur. We've held a similar event once before between our S1 pupils and Crookfur's P7 pupils at Crookfur Primary; however, this year the festival will take place in Eastwood, which recently moved into a new building. 

We applied to Scottish Book Trust's Live Literature Funding and were lucky enough to receive match funding for nine sessions. The next step was contacting the authors we wished to invite: Joan Lennon and John Fardell and the storyteller Ron Fairweather. Happily everyone could make it! All the sessions taking place during our festival are interactive and the pupils cover a broad spectrum of ability. I've spoken to Eastwood's junior prefects who will accompany each group during the morning.

The aims of the event are:

  • to develop links between Eastwood High School and Crookfur Primary - the Crookfur pupils are likely to come to Eastwood next year and so hopefully the event will help them make that step. 
  • to give me further oportunity to meet those pupils and encourage them to use the library at Eastwood and libraries in general
  • to improve the pupils' communication skills
  • to give the pupils an enjoyable experience, which hopefully inspires them to be more interested in all forms of literature

As you can imagine there's a lot to think about when organising an event like this, especially in a brand new building. I've been lucky enough to host a number of author events in the past and so can draw on that experience but there are a lot of imponderables in a new school, including putting each of the presenters into a suitable space. I've found email to be a great help and have been in constant communication with Crookfur and our presenters. I've also liaised with Eastwood's staff in order to free up rooms for this event and organised IT and materials so hopefully it will all run smoothly. During the day I'll be taking photos of the sessions. We hope the local press will be interested too.

It would be a lie to say this hasn't been a lot of work but I think the potential benefits are fantastic.

I think it's a great way to promote Book Week Scotland to our staff and pupils and I hope that other schools will follow this model and develop the idea throughout the country. 

If you're interested in applying for Live Literature Funding for your own author/poet/storyteller/illustrator events in school you can find out how to go about it by visiting our Live Literature Funding pages.

For more ideas on how to make the most of Book Week Scotland in your school, download our free learning resources from our Book Week Scotland for Schools pages.

If you're planning a special celebration for Book Week Scotland please let us know! We would love to hear from you. Leave your comments below or email our Schools Outreach Coordinator at heather.collins@scottishbooktrust.com

Anne De'Ath

Anne De'Ath is the librarian at Eastwood High School in East Renfrewshire.