Library’s chapter of successful events

Story Lab, the 2012 Summer Reading Challenge, has been hailed the most successful yet.


Some of the Story Lab award winners with their certificates for completing the challenge

Organised and hosted by the Henry Bloom Noble Library and sponsored, for the fifth year in succession by Scottish Widows, Story Lab provided the theme for a series of lively workshops and activity sessions in the library during the summer holidays aimed at encouraging young people to discover the world of books and power of words.

Borough librarian Jan Macartney said: ‘The response was fantastic. 186 children completed the challenge, we received some fabulous book reviews and our “Manx Myths and Fairy Tales” competition attracted masses of entries. The programme of events also included a talk by tramways superintendent Michael Crellin, an opportunity to name the next horse to work on the horse tram service and for children to try their hand at writing a short story.

‘It’s thanks, of course, to our great team at the library – in particular senior library assistant Shirley Moore who succeeds in making the workshops educational and fun – and our generous sponsors, Scottish Widows, supporting us for the fifth year in succession, that the Summer Reading Challenging is unfailingly popular. It’s also down to the tremendous support of the parents, without whose encouragement and enthusiasm for their children’s reading the challenge would never be the success it’s become.’

At the Story Lab awards presentation at Cronk y Berry School the prizes were presented by the Deputy Mayoress of Douglas, Councillor Carol Malarkey and library champion Councillor Raina Chatel. They were joined by crime writer Chris Ewan, a regular guest at the library, who helped judge the short story competition and who said that, as a writer, he had ‘the best job in the world.’

The workshops were a mix of model-making, medals, masks and much  more, with the library team supported by volunteers from Scottish Widows, including director Juan Clarke who said: ‘My colleagues and I had great fun helping out at the weekly workshops and for us it made a welcome change from being in the office.’

Deputy Mayoress Councillor Carol Malarkey said: ‘It’s a marvellous achievement that 186 children completed the challenge of reading at least six books and visiting the library three times during the summer holidays. The six workshops were a great success and, owing to popular demand, morning and afternoon sessions were held to enable some 50 children to enjoy the activities every week.’

Mr Clarke continued: ‘Sponsorship’s not all about giving money, it’s about getting involved and rolling up your sleeves in the community and that’s one of the things we pride ourselves at Scottish Widows. Working with the Henry Bloom Noble Library is a key part of our support of literacy in general…and reading is such a great way to chill out.’


A packed hall of young readers at Cronk y Berry School


Manx Myths and Legends competition winner Annabel Curphey, 10 with Deputy Mayoress Councillor Carol Malarkey and 'Professor Cortex' aka senior library assistant Shirley Moore

'Professor Cortex' and 'friend

Scottish Widows' Karen Kewish (seated) and Juan Clarke with borough librarian Jan Macartney


Author Chris Ewan with short story winners Amelia Lee, seven, Elisabeth Pulman, 12 and Alexander Watson, nine


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