Revolutionary librarians in Nelson

Shared Reading at Nelson Public Libraries by Alyson Baker

In January of this year, a group of eight librarians from Nelson Public Libraries joined four others for a three day Reading Revolution Shared Reading course run by Kate Middleton and Danny Prasad. We all loved the training and in May we held a shared reading taster for the rest of our staff, which was enthusiastically received.
We have been working on both incorporating the learned techniques into our existing book groups, and on starting shared reading groups for the Nelson community. We had five regular reading groups at the time of the training; two monthly groups, one held in the Elma Turner Library in Nelson and one in our Stoke Library, a weekly dementia-friendly group held in Nelson, and two monthly groups held in residential care facilities. We have incorporated a shared reading element into four of these five book groups.
We have also trialled two shared reading groups, one in the Franklyn Village self- catering accommodation complex, and one in the Elma Turner Library for ESOL newcomers to Nelson.
We have held one-off shared reading sessions: one in Nelson during a group of library events called Aotearoa Week, and a shared poetry session in Stoke for National Poetry Day. We have also scheduled three shared poetry sessions for our 2019/2020 Nelson Summer Reading Challenge programme, one in Nelson, one in Stoke and one in the Nightingale Library Memorial, our library in Tahunanui.
The incorporation of shared reading elements are going well in our existing groups. Poetry is always a winner, and two prose pieces that have gone particularly well are: The open window by Saki, and an excerpt from Down and out in Paris and London by George Orwell. With our two new groups we are still struggling to find the right time/place to attract enough people, but we are persisting. The Stoke shared poetry session was a huge success, and we hope that carries through to our summer shared reading programme.

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