Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Library Takeover: Plans become reality for youth-led cultural programs

Today we are so pleased to present this article (the second of two – read part one here) on the Library Takeover program, organized by Apples and Snakes, a performance poetry group based in the UK (check out their awesome library-based SPINE Festival work in our previous series). This program pairs youth who are interested in producing events at libraries with creative professional mentors who work in arts administration and production to organize large-scale cultural programs in libraries. Enjoy! ~Laura

“I now have an idea of what it takes to host an event from marketing, financing, contracting and negotiating” Library staff, Waltham Forest

Library Takeover is an ambitious new programme, presented in partnership by Apples and Snakes and Half Moon Theatre, along with Waltham Forest Libraries and Croydon Libraries. The project aims to inspire and equip a new wave of young people and library staff to produce live events and promote library buildings as creative and cultural spaces for all.


The Library Takeover teams, made up of three young people aged 11-18 years and three library staff, have been working tirelessly in recent weeks to put together an exciting programme of creative events for the public, which will take place in October 2015. With less than a month to go, plans are really shaping up and the excitement from the Library Takeover participants is palpable.

“I have learnt how to speak to, interact and email people on a ‘professional’ and formal scale” Young person, Waltham Forest

Under the guidance of independent arts producer and facilitator Maeve O’Neill, the team in the borough of Waltham Forest have devised an open mic night aimed specifically at young people. On Saturday 24 October, Urban Explosion will take over the stage at the newly refurbished Leytonstone Library, showcasing the beautiful new spaces available to Waltham Forest residents. Hosted by a local spoken word artist and headlined by an incredible grime musician, the young people and library staff are harvesting the talents of the borough to produce what promises to be a truly explosive night of poetry, acting, rap, spoken word, singing, comedy, and even dancing! So whether you want to sit back and relax, or get up and take the open mic, this one-off night is really not to be missed! Find all the event details here.

Planning for upcoming programs as part of Library Takeover.

Planning for upcoming programs as part of Library Takeover.

“I found the budget difficult because maths isn’t my strong point” Young person, Croydon

The library staff and young people have taken on the challenges of producing live events with great enthusiasm, sharing the roles and responsibilities to ensure a smooth running process. Two of the staff at Leytonstone are looking after the finances and budget of the event, whilst one of the young people has taken on the task of organising the design and production of print materials, including flyers and posters. On the other side of things, participants are working together to organise the technical and logistical details of the event, and even planning a building makeover!

“It’s been really good to learn about different ways to plan things – go about organising something from the start” Library staff, Waltham Forest

Meanwhile, in Croydon led by Half Moon Associate Artist Lucy Foster the Library Takeover team are heading up an adventurous journey into fashion wonderland, planning a series of literary fashion show events under the title Wear the Book: Words Meet Fashion. Over the course of three free workshops at Thornton Heath Library, taking place on Saturday 10 October, Saturday 17 October, and Saturday 24th October, participants will get the chance to work alongside a professional fashion designer to create costumes for the catwalk, inspired by their favourite literary tales.

The big unveiling of the designs will take place at the main Wear the Book event on Thursday 29 October, hosted by the fantastic poet Francesca Beard, who will also perform on the night. The audience will be encouraged to explore the different library spaces where the budding young designers will be strutting their stuff on the fashion runway, accompanied by soundscapes and readings from the works that have inspired them. As Thornton Heath Library is usually closed on Thursdays, this is a literal Library Takeover! Find all the event details here.

“The best bits were when all the planning and preparation turned into the final idea, and designs. It became very real, and I got very excited!” Young person, Croydon

Library Takeover is an Apples and Snakes project in partnership with Half Moon Theatre, Waltham Forest Libraries and Croydon Libraries. It is funded by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) and Arts Council England. For more information about Library Takeover, visit the Apples and Snakes project page

from Library as Incubator Project » Library as Incubator Project | Library as Incubator Project

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