Friday, April 3, 2020

#BookQuizFriday - Quiz Two

The Answers

We hope you enjoyed the quiz.
If you didn’t take part in real time, why not use these questions later.  Perhaps run a quiz for your family or house mates, or perhaps try a virtual pub quiz tonight or over the weekend.  Try video conferencing tools like Zoom to bring people together.

Thanks for taking part and please let us know how you found it.

What is the title of the fourth book in the Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis?
The Silver Chair

To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee is widely regarded as one of the greatest pieces of 20th century literature.  What is the name of the narrator’s father? 
Atticus Finch

In ‘Treasure Island’, the story begins when a ‘Captain’ arrives to lodge at the Admiral Benbow Inn. He is in possession of a treasure map. Who is he? 
Billy Bones

Division Street is a collection of poetry by which Sheffield based, award winning poet and novelist? 
Helen Mort

Andrew Lloyd Webbers musical ‘Cats’ was based on which T.S Elliot book. 
Old Possums Book of Practical Cats

The Rivers of London series, follows the adventures of police constable and wizard, Peter Grant.  Who is the series author? 
Ben Aaronovitch

Sky Roads of the World and Queen of the Air are both biographies of which famous Sheffield University graduate? 
Amy Johnson

Which Sheffield publisher is behind the Northern Book Prize? 
And Other Stories

It’s all Good is the title of a cook book co-written by which Hollywood A-lister?
Gwyneth Paltrow

Benedict Cumberbatch played which character in the Hobbit movie series? 
Smaug the Dragon

A popular science book, attempting to explain a range of subjects in cosmology, including the big bang, black holes and light cones, what is the title of Stephen Hawking’s famous 1988 work. 
A Brief History of Time

Is it just me, is the title of the bestselling life manual written with the characteristic humour of which popular female comedian? 
Miranda Hart

In the Spanish classic what does Don Quixote attack, believing them to be giants? 

Which English author wrote the 1877 classic, Black Beauty? 
Anna Sewell

What is the title of Jack London’s 1906 novel following a wild wolfdog’s journey to domestication? 
White Fang

“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked.  “I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.” 
“You have been my friend” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing.”

From which classic story is this quote taken? 
Charlotte’s Web

Shirley Valentine and Blood Brothers have been successful stage shows but who was the Author?
Willy Russell

Gene Wilder and Johny Depp have both played which character in the film musical of a Roald Dahl classic? 
Willy Wonka

The stage sequel to ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber is called ‘Love Never Dies’, but before this, another sequel book was written called The Phantom in Paradise, who was the Author? 
Frederick Forsyth

This book continues the tale of the four heroes from The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and their encounter with a man named Philippe. What is it called?
The Man with the Iron Mask

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Creativity during Corona

Sheffield Central Library hosts a wide range of regular groups, talks and workshops to spark creativity and connect people with culture and their community.  During these strange times we’ve temporarily closed the library and had to pause all of our face to face meetings.  However, there’s no reason for the creative process to falter, or for people to stop sharing their thoughts and enthusiasm for poetry and prose. In fact, perhaps more than ever, we all need to keep the creativity flowing.

A daily dose of inspiration to get the creative juices flowing

Claire Walker is the creative dynamo behind the Central Library poetry and writing groups.  Each morning, Claire will be posting on the Library Facebook page, a daily writing prompt or linking to a poem that might inspire you to write, feel or think creatively.

There’s no reason why writing produced in a moment of crisis, stress or despair can’t be great writing. It might lead to an idea, character trait, plot point or conflict in a story or poem. Or it might just make you feel better.  

And if you’ve never written before, why not have a go? Don’t worry if you can’t find the words though, perhaps you will be inspired to draw or paint something in response to the prompt instead.

Creativity during Corona: The Exhibition

We’d love to see your work, so please share it on Facebook or send it to  When life returns to normal, we’ll create an exhibition for Sheffield Central Library displaying your work.  It will be an art installation and social history, it will be fun, and no doubt sad. It will be a showcase of our collective Creativity during Corona.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Sheffield's Favourite Read - The Remix

Do you remember the first time you met Mr Darcy, delved into the Da Vinci Code, or discovered Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross? Can you remember the thrill, the rush to read more, and the morning tiredness because you stayed up reading just one more chapter?
We want to hear about the books you love and the authors that shaped you.

As part of the Sheffield Year of Reading we’ve been asking you about your favourite books. Communities across Sheffield have been voting in our libraries and via our website and at the end of March we were going to tally up all the votes and come up with a shortlist. Unfortunately due to the current pandemic, the library has had to close until further notice! Fortunately this means we have extended the deadline, so you have more time to vote for your favourite read!

We want to find Sheffield’s favourite book and we need your help! Let us know your favourite book and who it’s by. You can do this via this webform, in the comments at
the bottom of the blog or in the comments on the relevant posts on our facebook,
twitter or Instagram account. 

You have until April 23rd, at which point we’ll tally up all the votes and come up with a shortlist.

Over the coming weeks we'll be sharing with you some of our favourite Sheffielders' chosen reads. But for now it’s over to you: let’s get a conversation started...

Friday, March 27, 2020

#BookQuizFriday - Quiz One

The Answers

We hope you enjoyed the quiz. 

If you didn’t take part in real time, why not use these questions later.  Perhaps run a quiz for your family or house mates, or try a virtual pub quiz tonight or over the weekend.  Try video conferencing tools like Zoom to bring people together.
Thanks for taking part.  Please let us know how you found it.

1.  As well as creating Harry Potter, JK Rowling also writes crimes novels, but under what name?

Robert Galbraith

2.  Continuing from where he left off at the end of Boy: Tales of Childhood, Going Solo focuses on the amazing early adult life of which famous writer.

Roald Dahl

3.  The Gothic novel Melmoth is the title of the latest work by which best-selling author?

Sarah Perry

4.  In The Lord of Rings, what is the name of the fortress home of the evil wizard Saruman? 

Isengard – but we will also accept Orthanc as this is the name of the main tower

5.  Henry Tilney is the main love interest in which Jane Austen novel?

Northanger Abbey

6.  Spitfire is a non-fiction book by John Nichol.  Nichol as an RAF airman was famously shot down and captured by the enemy.  During which conflict did this happen?

First Gulf War

7.  The Evie’s Magic Bracelet series of children’s books is written by Elen Caldecott and which well-known Sheffielder?  

Jessica Ennis Hill

8.  Published in 2017, A Column of Fire by Ken Follett, is part of a series centred on which fictional English town?  


9.  In Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, Tristan Thorn leaves his village to enter the magical land of Faerie.  What is name of the village?


10.  Andy Weir is the bestselling author of the Martian, adapted for film and featuring Matt Damon.  Where is his latest novel set?

The Moon

11.  Sunjeev Sahota’s Sheffield set, Booker nominated novel explores the experiences of migrant workers in Britain.  What is the title of the book?

The Year of the Runaways

12.  Facing Up is the story of a 23 year old adventurers climb up Everest.  Who is the adventured and author?

Bear Grylls

13.  The Bolds is a series of children’s books by comedian Julian Clary about a family of animals posing as normal humans.  What kind of animal are Bolds? 


14.  The Long Earth series is a collaborative science fiction work by Terry Pratchett and which other science fiction writer?  

Stephen Baxter

15.  What is the title of Tom Clancy’s 1984 debut novel focussed around the movement of a Russian submarine?

The Hunt for Red October

16.  Which illustrator and winner of the Kate Greenaway medal drew the maps of Narnia for CS Lewis and of Middle-earth for J. R. R. Tolkien?

Pauline Baynes

17.  Football Thronkosaurus and Magic, Mud and Maradona are both titles by which Sheffield resident and television presenter? 

Dan Walker

18.  The Dread Pirate Roberts is a legendary pirate in which novel?  Much of the film adaptation was shot in the nearby Peak District.

The Princess Bride

19.  Which Belgian reporter appeared in HergĂ©’s hugely popular comic series?


20.  The story of Captain Blood was made into a popular 1935 film. Who played the title role?

Errol Flynn

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Digital Resources

Libraries may have closed for the time being, but this doesn't mean you can't still enjoy the love of reading or learn a new skill or two. While many of you are at home with children, organisations and individuals have stepped up and are offering storytelling, drawing masterclasses and online learning to keep children occupied and entertained so that maybe you have some time to dip into our elibrary!

The e-library service offering ebooks, audiobooks, e-magazines and e-comics all completely FREE and you can join us right now!

Our very own Sheffield Year of Reading Writer in Residence, author Nik Perring, has taken his brilliant teaching online, and has provided two brilliant online courses along with our Love Sheffield, luv writing competition for all ages.

For anyone on Twitter follow #UnitedbyBooks (a collaboration from Scottish BookTrust, Authorfy and Beanstalk Reads)  who are providing lots of exciting and up-to-date resources and check back here as we'll be updating this list regularly.

Authors & Illustrators

Draw with Rob

Pete McKee - Cartoon Workshops
Gareth P Jones - Storytelling

David Walliams - Fun Activities

Michelle Robinson - Printables & Audio Games

Mac Barnett's Book Club Show

Frank Cottrell-Boyce - Writing Lessons

Cressida Cowell - Storytelling, Drawing & Writing Tips

B Small Publishing - Activity Hub

Scholastic - Resource Bank

Black and White Publishing

Tiny Owl Publishing

Audible - Free stories for kids

Authorfy - 10 Minute Challenge

Milkshake - Storytimes

Lantana Publishing - free e-books & resources

Imagination Libraries - Goodnight Stories with Dolly Parton

Monday, March 23, 2020

Love Sheffield, Luv - Writing Competition

While people are being sensible and self isolating, we are here to help! Writers and non-writers of all ages, get your creativity flowing.

Sheffield Libraries are delighted to announce the Love Sheffield, Luv competition in association with Hive South Yorkshire (open to everyone living, or working, in Sheffield). 
We want to hear about the things you love about Sheffield – and that theme can be interpreted any way you like.

You might want to write about a place that only you know about. Something you’re proud of. Maybe you’d like to show aliens around our city. If you’re in Sheffield it could be anything about you! Or a memory you cherish. Maybe you’d like to make up a story set in Sheffield, past, present, or somewhere in the distant future. 

‘The best thing about being a writer is we can write about whatever we want. We make things up! No-one needs to know if it’s true or not!’ – Nik Perring (author).

Poems, script, and stories are all welcome. 

PRIZES will include £100 in book tokens for each category, publication in the Year of Reading Anthology, or Children’s Anthology, with winners invited to perform at a special event.

Age categories

Children’s Year of Reading Explorer Prize – Up to 13 years

Entrants, or teachers and guardians, are invited to submit young people’s best work using the theme of Exploration to spark ideas. 

Up to 400 words or up to 2 poems

Hive New Writer Prize – 14-19 years

Open to 14-19 year olds who aren’t currently accessing Hive groups and workshops.

As part of Year of Reading, Hive are looking to discover and showcase new talent.
If you’re a secret scribbler, part-time poet, closet novelist, or someone who fancies giving writing a go, we want to read your stuff! More info: 
Up to 800 words or 3 poems

In addition to publication in the Year of Reading Anthology, winners will also receive a one to one guidance session with Nik. 

Sheffield Year of Reading Writing Prize – 20 years & above
Up to 1000 words or 3 poems on the theme of Exploration. 

No upper age limit.

Opens: April 1st 
Deadline: July 31st 2020

Please submit your entries to

For tips and tricks from our writer in residence and competition judge, author Nik Perring please scroll down.


A little advice and some story and poetry writing tips from Writer in Residence, Nik Perring, for everyone thinking of entering. There’s help here for everyone – from      beginners and younger writers to those with a little more experience. We can’t wait to read your work!

Try to do something a little different or unexpected. Make the normal unusual in some way.


You don’t have to write like everyone else. You don’t have to imitate your favourite writer.
You’re you – and that’s the most important thing you have over everyone else. Write using
the language you’d use if you were talking to friends.


If you do you’ll either surprise people by a description or an image they’d not have thought of, or make them smile because someone else thinks like them.


Writing for a competition isn’t a test. It’s not school. We want you to have fun and play with
themes. The best writing and the best poetry will make us see or think about the world a little differently.


The best writing comes when we’re enjoying what we’re writing or what we’re writing about. And if you like it, other people will too!


We want you to write about what you love about Sheffield. That doesn’t have to be the sorts of things everyone would expect. It could be yourself. It could someone in Sheffield. The
way they speak or look at you. It could be you taking a part of Sheffield somewhere else.

Maybe it’s someone falling in love with a vampire on The Manor. Or an alien might land in your garden at Meadowhead and need showing around.


Maybe you want to literally explore the city. You could take us on a tour of the places everyone comes to see. Maybe you want to shine a light on your favourite places, or the places only you know about. You might want to make it up – show us Sheffield in a different dimension, a parallel universe, a different era. Your exploration can start in Sheffield and end up somewhere different entirely.

Perhaps you want to explore who you are, what you think, what we are as a race. What we love. How we love. Who we love. Whatever you choose, enjoy it. There are loads of things we’ll consider when judging for the prize and for publication – it’s not all about being literary – it’s about coming up with interesting ideas, trusting them, and having fun. Make us laugh, terrify us, make us question things, make us see the world differently.



 Start as close to the end as possible. That way it’ll be exciting.

 A story is about a character facing something different or exciting or terrifying – don’t be afraid to up the stakes!

 Use clear language. No point in hiding your ideas behind long words.

 Don’t’ be scared of silly ideas. Sometimes they’re the most interesting. A story about a magic piece of furniture sounds daft until you find out it’s about a wardrobe with Narnia on the other side. Same as a boy being trapped on a boat with a tiger.

 You can recycle things that have happened to you (though it’s probably best to use those memories as starting point for your stories so you can have fun making things up!).

 Don’t worry about spellings or punctuation until you’ve finished. You can always go back and tidy things once your first draft’s finished.

If you’re struggling to get started, why not use one of these…

Nobody knows what the best bit about Sheffield is…

I wouldn’t have believed you if you’d have told me yesterday that…

It’s Sheffield, love. You couldn’t make it up!

He’d never seen that before…

It’s not every day you….

It hung over Hillsborough like some enormous bird…

They met by the Wicker…


Poems don’t have to rhyme!

Poems can be a list.

They can be a recipe.

They can be a series of instructions.

They can be a song without music.

A rap without beats.

Anything at all!


Here are my tips for anyone wanting to write a good short story or piece of flash fiction.

Start where the story starts, not before. If I was telling you about a fantastic hotel room I'd
stayed in I wouldn't start by telling you about booking the tickets to get there (unless the story was about booking the tickets and ended in the room).

Take out everything, every word, every sentence, every character that isn't absolutely necessary. Similarly, only use the right words. Sometimes people do just 'sit'. Or 'run'.

Make sure your characters are believable. What they do, or the situations they find themselves in, may be unlikely and fantastical but the way they react to them has to be something that readers will believe.

Be suspicious of anything you think is clever. The story comes first, the story's what people should notice, not the writer.

Write for you, but spare a thought for the reader too.

Don't overdo it. Big words are fine if they're the right ones. Same with descriptions.

Say what you want to say in the simplest, and most effective, way possible. In other words:
get to the point. Aim to be brilliant.

Don't expect it to be easy. Or quick. Be prepared to work hard.

Don't be afraid of rewriting. In fact, embrace it; it will make your stories better.

Don't expect to get it right the first time. You have total control of what can be changed. (I often find also that if a story wants or needs to be changed, then it'll let you know.)

Trust your instincts. If you suspect something's not working then it probably isn't.

Don't be afraid of putting a story away for a while. Sometimes stories, and your head, need space.

Don't be afraid of failure. Nothing's wasted. It's better to try something new and fail (and perhaps learn something) than to play safe all the time.

Most importantly: BE BRAVE. You have an imagination, use it. Write the story you want to write, write what you think's good and interesting, even if that means not sticking with the norm. Different, if done well, can be brilliant.

And read the greats. See how they do things. See why they're the greats.

Big thanks to Nik for these fantastic tips. Now are you ready?
Get set! 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Notice of closure of Libraries and Archives

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, Sheffield City Council will close all library and archive service points to the public from Friday 20th March.

This relates to all libraries in the city run by the Council and our archives at Shoreham Street.

We have extended return dates for books and no fines will be incurred during this period of closure. Customers with reservations will not be able to collect them at this time.

We continue to provide online library services via our e-library and a simple registration process to become a member click here 

Additional titles to the e-book catalogue will continue to be updated and you can download to read on your devices for free. We also have a large range of e-audio books, e-comics and a good selection of current e-magazines, also accessible free of charge.

How we provide library services during this time will be constantly reviewed.

For updates to library services including the Home Library Service check our website,  and our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter 

For our online book club join here