Lorraine Mariner: NPL IRL! The National Poetry Library is Open!

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NPL IRL! The National Poetry Library is Open!

Since my last post for this blog, about the National Poetry Library eloans collection for children and young people, I’m delighted to say that you can come and visit us again and borrow actual books In Real Life – we’re open!  We are currently having some maintenance work done so we have limited space, please check our website here http://www.nationalpoetrylibrary.org.uk/visit we would be so pleased to see you in the library soon. It was a very special day for the NPL team when we reopened on 28th May and unveiled a new rainbow design on our rolling shelves.

© Takis Zontiros

And a new section for Young Adults:

Having a more prominent Young Adult section was always a dream of my former colleague and Children’s Poetry Summit member Pascal O’Loughlin, who has now moved on to pastures new in the Wirral, so it was a thrill to send him a photo of this and some of our recent Young Adult additions.

We continued to collect books during our closure and here are some of my favourite purchases from the past year for our children’s collection.

Anyone with a UK address can sign up to join the National Poetry Library. Children can become members too and borrow 4 books at a time. We’re open Tuesday 12-6 and Wednesday-Sunday 12-8. You can find us on Level 5 of the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre. If you can’t visit us in London in person you can still sign up to our eloans collection.

Like all other libraries and cultural centres we continue to grapple with the new normal and what the winter months may bring. Our much loved Little Library space for children in our foyer remains closed until early next year and our schools workshops are currently on hold, as is our weekly Rug Rhymes session for under-5s. I miss these sessions very much, especially as my nephew, born during lockdown, has recently learned to roar during ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’ and clap during ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’ and has yet to see his auntie lead these songs in a professional capacity. Plus, there are some new rhyming picture books we can’t wait to include at this session. We hope to revamp and relaunch our children’s programme for Spring 2021 and will have some exciting news to share about Southbank Centre’s schools programme in the coming months.

© Takis Zontiros

In the meantime, we’re delighted to announce the return of the National Poetry Library Open Day on Saturday 23rd October on the theme of Friendship as part of the London Literature Festival.

This is a chance for us to display recent acquisitions, including books for children, and specially curated displays. This year we also have two activities, open to children as well as adults, where we’re inviting visitors to get creative on a postcard that we will ink stamp to send to a friend and the chance to make a Friendship themed mini-zine (materials provided).  Come along from 11am and help us create a mini-zine friendship library!

Lorraine Mariner

Lorraine Mariner is an Assistant Librarian at the National Poetry Library and has published two poetry collections for adults with Picador, Furniture (2009) and There Will Be No More Nonsense (2014), and two pamphlets Bye For Now (The Rialto, 2005) and Anchorage (Grey Suit Editions, 2020).