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Shakespeare in the Library

Shakespeare in the Library

Batley Library celebrated Shakespeare week last month with a reading of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

During a typical sleepy Sunday afternoon in Batley, sixteen readers came together to read one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies.

The event was a joint venture between the Friends of Batley Library and the Batley Poets.

Mohammed Barber, one of the volunteers for the Friends of Batley Library who organised the event said, “most people’s relationship with Shakespeare starts and ends at school. I was lucky in that I had a great teacher who inspired a love for the bard. I know that not everyone has that.

“All the thy, thine, and thou can be intimidating. Couple that with theatres which can be expensive and a bit snobby, it can be a massive turn off for working class people. That’s why I wanted to have a stripped-down performance in the library. The play and a bunch of people who want to read the play, irrespective of experience; that’s it.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream brings together love, magic, fairies, and an overzealous weaver whose head gets transformed into that of a donkey by a goblin, all set in Ancient Greece. The comedy remains hugely popular with audiences and is consistently performed on stage. The play has given rise to several famous phrases such as “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”, “The course of true love never did run smooth”, and “Though she be but little, she is fierce!”.

The afternoon was a great success, full of great readings with no shortage of laughs, or biscuits.

Mohammed Saloo from the Batley Poets was one of the readers, who had never read Shakespeare before. “In a way I’m surprised I’d never read Shakespeare before”, he said. “I suppose it’s because the opportunity hadn’t arisen, which is why I’m glad I took part in this session.

“When I found out I was reading Puck I had no idea who or what Puck was, or the relevance or importance of the character. I have to admit, I did follow the script with a radio play the day before, to be a little more familiar with the character. On the day itself I was nervous but once I’d read a few lines and heard the others, especially the laughter, I really enjoyed it. I loved having the last monologue, it just felt special.”

Plans are afoot for more readings of the bard’s plays in the coming months.

Christmas Party 2018

Christmas Party 2018

On Saturday 22nd December the library opened early for a few select guests for games, food, singing and fun! There was even a very special visitor who parked his reindeer outside and came in to chat with the children.

Aviva Community Fund – Voting Now Open!

Aviva Community Fund – Voting Now Open!

We applied to the Aviva Community Fund for some funding to run adult education classes at Batley Library and the good news is, we made it through to the voting stages! 

This is a project designed to deliver adult education from September 2019. This is an area that has become non existent within the local area, with people having to travel miles to enable themselves to achieve the education they would like and need at a later stage in their lives. 
This will be a huge boost to our community and provide much needed skills to those benefiting from it. 

The aim is for the participants to achieve a GCSE in Sciences as a stepping stone to continue studying at A level (this would be done locally too with the funding). 
The money will make a difference, as it will be used to equip a classroom with an interactive whiteboard and Tablets / IT equipment, which are vital to the course criteria. 

There are also course books and fees for exams, which would enable the participants to fully engage in the project. 
The money would also enable the participants to take part regardless of their own financial situation / background. 

We would like to encourage people to vote for this project to inject some much needed further education into the area and enable people to reach their potential regardless of circumstances.

You can sign up to vote for the project here. You get ten votes so you can use them all on our project, or spread them out amongst other worthy causes, whichever you choose!

Malcolm Haigh – This Is Your Life!

Malcolm Haigh – This Is Your Life!

On Wednesday 1st August we celebrated the life of local historian, and Friends member, Malcolm Haigh in a special event at the library. 2018 sees the 40th anniversary of Malcolm’s book A History of Batley 1800 – 1974 and we decided that Yorkshire Day was the perfect day to celebrate. Unbeknownst to Malcolm!

With the help of the Batley Local History Group and Malcolm’s friends and family we organised a ‘This is Your Life’ event for him, where people came together to share their memories of Malcolm and what makes him so special. At the end he was presented with a painting, by local artist and Friends member Steve McGrath, a cake by Nix Catering and Cakes and, of course, a big red book!

Summer Reading Challenge 2018

Summer Reading Challenge 2018

The Summer Reading Challenge is here once again, and this year the theme is Mischief Makers! This year we’re headed to Beanotown to help Dennis the Menace and friends find a hidden treasure chest full of pranks.

Joining in with the fun is easy. Step one: be a child aged 4-11 (sorry grown ups!) step two: read six books over the summer holidays. For every two books you read, you will receive a reward pack with special prizes and clues to the location of the buried treasure. When you return your sixth and final book, you will be rewarded with a certificate and a shiny medal! Step three: wear your medal with pride!

The challenge starts today (14th July) and you have until the 15th September to complete it. So what are you waiting for? Get down to the library and read your first two books now!

Women’s Peace Blanket

Women’s Peace Blanket

At the moment, Batley Library is very proud to be hosting The Women’s Peace Blanket, a piece of art inspired by the life of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox, who was killed in 2016. The blanket is the creation of artist Di Hewitt and was put together by women, mainly in the Stockton area. The aim was to bring women from different communities together to create something beautiful.

It’s display in Batley Library is the first time that the blanket has been on display outside of Stockton and we are honoured to have it.


Easter Holiday Events

Easter Holiday Events

The Easter holidays are nearly upon us and there is TONS of stuff going on at Batley Library over the next fortnight. Here’s your handy day-by-day guide.

Monday 10th April

  • The calm before the storm. We’re open as normal for all the regular library activities.

Tuesday 11th April

  • Try it Tuesday – The first of our new monthly Tuesday sessions. Each session will contain something completely different, so come on down and give something new a try! Runs 1:30pm to 3:30pm on the first Tuesday of every month. Aimed at adults.
  • Rap with Rappaman! – Rappaman, aka Donavan Christopher, will be performing a selection of his poetry and hosting a workshop to inspire young writers to write their own poems. 2pm – 3:30pm, book tickets through the Pageturners Festival website. Suitable for ages 8+

Wednesday 12th April

  • Modern Sculptures (plaster/modroc figures) – The Creative Arts Hub will be running this all day session where children will be encouraged to build their own sculptures. 10am – 3pm, children are asked to bring a packed lunch. Book your tickets here. Suitable for 8-12 year olds.

Thursday 13 April

  • Primitive Coil Pots – The Creative Arts Hub will be running this all day session where children will be encouraged to build their own coil pots. 10am – 3pm, children are asked to bring a packed lunch. Book your tickets here. Suitable for 8-12 year olds.
  • Be a Hero! With Steve Skidmore – Steve will be talking about all things heroic, be prepared to join in! 11am – noon, book tickets through the Pageturners Festival website. Suitable for ages 7-12.

Friday 14th April – Library Closed for Good Friday

Saturday 15th April

  • Code Club – our weekly session designed to encourage children to learn to code. 10:45am-11:45am. Suitable for 8-12 year olds.

Monday 17th April – Library Closed for Easter Monday

Tuesday 18th April

  • The Search for Wonder – a family workshop based around music run by the 154 Collective. 10am-noon. Suitable for ages 4-10, places are limited to 15 (including any supervisory adults) so book now!

Wednesday 19th April

  • Modern Sculptures (Moore and Hepworth) – The Creative Arts Hub will be running this all day session where children will be encouraged to build their own sculptures. 10am – 3pm, children are asked to bring a packed lunch. Book your tickets here. Suitable for 8-12 year olds.

Saturday 22nd April

  • Art Workshop with the Children’s Art School – join them to work together on a large scale art project, and make a mask to take home. 10am – noon, book tickets through the Pageturners Festival website. Suitable for all ages.
  • Code Club – our weekly session designed to encourage children to learn to code. 10:45am-11:45am. Suitable for 8-12 year olds.
  • Lego Club – our fortnightly Lego Club. No need to book, just show up! 2pm – 3:30pm.


Love Batley Event 10th February 2017

Love Batley Event 10th February 2017

Friday 10th February saw our ‘Love Batley’ Event featuring a short film made by Simon Roadnight, Chair of the Friends of Batley Library Committee, where local residents extol the virtues of our town. The film is now available, in full, on Youtube.

The film was preceded by a talk from local military historian John Rumsby about two lovers during World War One, based on their old letters he found in an attic in Huddersfield. John told the story of Henry Coulter, a young tramways clerk  who enlisted in 1915, and his lover Lucy Townend. As we discovered, their letters gave no real insight into the war or other military details, but they did give us a look into the hopes and dreams of two young people during this period.

If you have any ideas for events that the library could host, or talks you think we might be interested in, feel free to contact us with your suggestions, we would be interested to hear them!

We Love Batley – 10th February 2017

We Love Batley – 10th February 2017

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us and love is in the air at Batley Library. On the 10th February we will be holding the ‘We Love Batley’ event, which will include a variety of events.

At 11am local military historian John Rumbsby will be joining us to tell us the tale of local soldier Henry Coulter and his World War One romance with Lucy TowWe Love Batley John Rumsby Eventnend, told exclusively via the letters they sent each other. The event is free and there is no need to book, just turn up!

We will also be showing a short film made by Friends of Batley Library Chairman, Simon Roadnight, starring YOU. Or, potentially you. Simon will be in the library with his camera on Thursday 26th January and Thursday 2nd February between 12:30 and 13:30 so you can tell him about what you love about Batley. It could be a story about the town, your childhood, your family, anything!

If that wasn’t enough, starting now and running beyond Valentine’s Day, we are holding a ‘Blind Date With a Book’ competition. Take out one of our mystery books home on blind date and you could be in with a chance of winning some vouchers for local businesses.  The top prize is a £20 voucher for Hometown Diner, followed by a £10 for Spices and Rices and two third prizes of £5 vouchers for Gelato Passion. You never know, you could meet your new favourite book!

Christmas Creative Activities Workshop – Sat 10th December

Christmas Creative Activities Workshop – Sat 10th December

christmas-workshop-flyerIt’s Christmas time! To celebrate, on the 10th December we are hosting our Christmas Creative Activities Workshop, a fun artistic session for children where we will be making special Christmas cards, a ‘magic hand’ Christmas tree and helping to decorate a giant parcel. The session will be held between 12:30 and 14:30 and is free! Refreshments will also be provided. Places are extremely limited though, so call the library to book on 01484 414868 or pop in to see us.