Thursday, July 30, 2020

Spotlight 36: The Future

Full details of our Order and Collect service, participating libraries, opening times, and the online order form are now available on here on our website.

Check our blog's Service Updates section here and our Facebook and Twitter pages for the latest updates on reopening.

In our final Library Spotlight, we're looking to the future.

Alongside our new Order and Collect service, we'll be featuring plenty of family activities throughout the summer and lots of things to discover during our Year of Reading, like our Big City Read and our brand new Sheffield Libraries podcast.

Sounds of the future

One of our favourite finds this week is this fantastic sci-fi-focused episode of the RNIB books podcast Read On.

This episode features a discussion of the novel that inspired the film Blade Runner and an interview with Jeff Wayne, creator of the classic War of the Worlds musical.

High tech characters, low tech crafts

These brilliant tutorials from Cardboard Superheroes show how to transform cardboard boxes into impressive models of classic sci-fi characters like Wall-E and R2D2, iconic spaceships, and superhero props. A perfect holiday craft for older children (and for the young-at-heart too!)

Futures past

One of the most impressive (and sometimes, most unsettling) things about science fiction is how accurately some stories have predicted the future.

One short story that has been singled out lately for its eerie foreshadowing of not only recent events but also the role that social media plays in modern life was first published back in 1909, and created by someone rarely thought of as a science fiction writer - E.M. Forster.

This BBC article explores the uncanny parallels between Forster's The Machine Stops and current events.

The story is also available in the public domain, and can be read in full here.

A time traveller's guide to Sheffield

We can't talk about sci-fi without a nod to Sheffield's most famous extra-terrestrial visitor of recent years: the Thirteenth Doctor. (She even crops up in the Book of Sheffield: the collection of short stories we're sharing for our Big City Read!)

In this video, the University of Sheffield looks at Sheffield's past, present and future through another kind of time machine: film and TV.

Planning a post-lockdown future

Moving on to a less fantastical kind of future, Dr Rangan Chatterjee, author of bestsellers like The 4 Pillar Plan, regularly discusses making realistic and self-compassionate lifestyle changes in his Feel Better, Live More podcast.

In this episode, he discusses planning for a post-lockdown future.

All of Rangan Chatterjee's books are available as both eBooks and audiobooks in our eLibrary

Now in the eLibrary

There's lots of science fiction to enjoy in our eLibrary, from classic series like Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels to recent bestsellers like The End of the World Running Club.

Not a member yet? To access our eLibrary for free, and to join Sheffield Libraries ahead of the introduction of our Order and Collect service, click here.

Isaac Asimov
[eBooks] [audio]

Ray Bradbury

Cixin Liu
Jeff VanderMeer
[eBooks] [audio]

Doctor Who
The Giver
Adrian J Walker's End of
the World 
series [eBooks]

Monday, July 27, 2020

Spotlight 35: Film

In the first of this week's Library Spotlights, we're focusing on film. The usual summer blockbuster season may have been postponed, but thanks to our local cinemas and archives, there are plenty of cinematic curiosities and film-themed treats to explore.

Summer at the Showroom

The Showroom Cinema has brought its popular Film Studies series online with a set of talks on international and local cinema, delivered by lecturers from Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield.

You can find details of the upcoming weekly talks, all hosted on Zoom, on the Showroom website. We've been tuning into a few of the talks so far, and even if you're not familiar with the films under discussion, it's a great way to discover something new and interesting to add to your watchlist!

For movie buffs looking for something a little different, the BBC's Inside Cinema is a great off-kilter series of shorts that examines how cinema has presented everything from cats and drag to horror movie homes and ... men wearing woolly jumpers. The series is available on iPlayer.

Is the book always better?

Whether or not you agree with the old saying that the book is always better than the film, 2020 has seen a number of acclaimed adaptations hit both the big screen and (more frequently) the small screen, as covered in this recent Penguin article.

The Book Vs Movie podcast weighs in on the adaptation debate with fun, informative discussions of film adaptations ranging from IT and The Help to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Die Hard. Browse the latest episodes here.

You can also hear from Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman and Wonder author R. J. Palacio about their experiences of having their novels adapted for the screen in this Waterstones podcast on Adaptation.

Explore the best of Britain's film archives

The Yorkshire Film Archive has over 1,800 films in their free online archive. Some of their recent Archive Picks are well worth a look, like this documentary on Jack Charlton and Middlesbrough Football Club from 1974.

For a true blast from the past, here's "Books in Hand", a 1956 promotional film about Sheffield's libraries. Less has changed than you might think - although we might have a slightly tougher time these days tracking down a copy of "Steal Not My Heart"...

There's also a host of free short films to discover on the BFI Player website, including early Victorian cinema, classic (that is to say, rather terrifying) public information films, and even some surreal Sheffield-based science fiction.

Out of this world

Friday's Library Spotlight will be devoted to sci-fi, both on the screen and the page. In this week's poetry and creative writing Zoom, Claire from Central Library will be inviting you to share your favourite visions of the future and other worlds.

The next writing workshop takes place this Friday, 31 July, at 11am. Tickets are free and available from our Eventbrite page.

Everything's a moving picture

The National Theatre of Scotland has recently created a series of free video-making workshops for young people aged 10+.

"Everything's a Moving Picture" teaches young film-makers how to use stock and archive videos, film their own footage, and experiment with captions to create their own stories.

Check out the workshops here.

Adventure on demand

Our Adventure Book Festival wrapped up last week - but if you missed out, don't worry!

Recordings of the festival's talks are available to watch for free this week on Zoom, until the end of July. All videos feature closed captions. You can find all our recent author talks here.

Now in the eLibrary

Visit our eLibrary to check out the books that inspired several recent popular and award-winning films, along with movie spin-offs like the acclaimed Aliens graphic novels.

As part of our Year of Reading, we've got three £100 book tokens up for grabs for Sheffield Libraries members aged 11+.

To enter, just read any three books of your choice over July, August and September, and send us your thoughts about each of your summer reads on our website (check out the adult Summer Reading Challenge section for all the details).

Our e-magazines library also features the latest issues of film magazines including Empire and Total Film, all immediately available for free.

Little Women
[eBook] [audio]
Crazy Rich Asians
The Wife
Artemis Fowl
[eBook series]
[latest issue]

[latest issue]

Monday, July 20, 2020

Spotlight 34: Comedy

This week we're highlighting some hilarious reads and comedy classics, along with some great events for families and adults.

Join the Silly Squad!

At this time of year we'd ordinarily be inviting children to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge in our libraries. We miss hearing young readers chat about the books they've enjoyed and giving them their stickers and prizes - and we hope to be welcoming families back soon.

In the meantime, the Summer Reading Challenge is already under way online! There are virtual rewards up for grabs for every child who reads any six books of their choice over summer. Once our libraries reopen, there'll be even more rewards to collect.

In this year's Challenge, children will meet the Silly Squad, a funny gang of animals who love to laugh - along with their dastardly nemesis, Brian the Pony!

Visit the Reading Agency's Summer Reading Challenge website to find out how to take part.

For children looking for something new to read as part of their six-book challenge, our children's eLibrary has loads of great books to enjoy. For example, here are just some of the funny books we have available.

Click on the titles below the covers to go straight to the eLibrary page for each series.

Charlie Turns into a
Chicken (and more!)

Sam Wu
(audiobooks) (eBooks)

Fabulous funny reads
from Pamela Butchart

Diary of an Awesome
Friendly Kid

And the fun doesn't stop there...

Starting this Tuesday, Sheffield Libraries is running lots of online activities to keep children singing, crafting and laughing through the summer!

From now until 26 August, you'll see new events popping up throughout the week on our Facebook page.

What does an anteater eat?

The Little Angel Theatre has recently been sharing some brilliantly inventive puppet performances of funny picture books, including Ross Collins' What Does an Anteater Eat (the answer may not be what you expect!)

You can watch this play and other productions (including great retellings of Jon Klassen's darkly funny I Want My Hat Back picture books), and even learn how to create some of the puppets, on the Little Angel Theatre website.

Don't panic!

2020 marks the all-important 42nd anniversary of the first radio broadcast of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

In this Spectator Book Club podcast, Douglas Adams' friend and collaborator John Lloyd and sci-fi writer Adam Roberts chat about the author, creation and legacy of The Hitchhiker's Guide.

The home of the radio show, BBC Radio 4, has lots of articles, recordings and quizzes about the series, available here.

The original book can also be borrowed from our eLibrary here.

A whole library of laughs

If you're in the mood for a funny read, there's plenty to choose from on our eLibrary - including gems from the BBC's recent 100 Novels That Shaped Our World, like A Confederacy of Dunces and Adrian Mole.

Everything is free to borrow - and now we're offering something extra.

Read any three books in July, August and September, share your opinion on them - and you could win £100 in book tokens!

Our Summer Reading Adult Challenge and prize draw are open to all Sheffield Libraries members aged 11+.

To find out more, and to send in your thoughts on the books you're reading this summer, visit the Sheffield Year of Reading site.

Here are just a few of the humorous reads available in our eLibrary.

Three Men in a Boat
Reasons to be Cheerful
[eBook] [audio]

A Confederacy
of Dunces
In at the Deep End

Let's Explore Diabetes
with Owls
My Sister, the Serial
 [eBook] [audio]
Middle England
[eBook] [audio]

Creativity During Corona
Who are the people in your life who consistently crack you up? Your partner, your best friend, a relative? Write down the top people/person you turn to when you need a good chuckle, and tell a story that illustrates their sense of humour.
Got a funny story to tell? In today's Creativity During Corona post on our Facebook page, Claire from Central Library has some rib-tickling poems and creative writing prompts to try out!

This week Claire is also running a free comedy writing and poetry workshop on Zoom on Friday 24 July. Tickets are now available on our Eventbrite page.

Comedians at the Southbank

In the last few months the Southbank Centre's Book Podcast has been releasing recordings of recent author events.

Their Funny People playlist features conversations with Richard Ayoade, Sara Pascoe, Lenny Henry, Louis Theroux, and Sue Perkins on their latest books (many of which are available in our eLibrary).

Who am I, Again?
[eBook] [audiobook]
East of Croydon
Gotta Get Theroux This
Sara Pascoe books
[eBooks] [audio]

You can also catch Phoebe Waller-Bridge talking about her hit series Fleabag here.

Comic-Con @ Home

Turning to comics of a different kind...

San Diego Comic-Con is the biggest pop culture event of the year, with exclusive panels and sneak peeks at upcoming blockbuster films and TV and, of course, talks about graphic novels from some of the biggest names in comics.

Ordinarily, going to the world's largest comic convention would be pretty expensive - but this year you'll be able to watch the events online for free! Starting this Wednesday, you can catch Comic-Con@Home from 22-26 July.

As the events are scheduled to local San Diego time (eight hours behind British Summer Time), watching most of the panels live will call for a few late nights. However, most panels will be available to watch later on Comic-Con's YouTube channel.

This Radio Times page has a full schedule of all the events and what time they'll be showing in the UK.