Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Sheffield Jewish Archives Cataloguing Project

Acquisition by the City Archives and The Jane Goodman Charitable Trust

In 2021 the Sheffield Jewish Congregation and Centre and United Synagogue deposited the papers it housed at the Kingfield Centre with the City Archives, to be catalogued and made available to the public for research.

In July 2023, the Jane Goodman Charitable Trust began funding the project to catalogue these papers. This cataloguing project involves: producing a catalogue of the material for the City Archives online catalogue; conserving and digitising some of the papers in the collection; exhibiting and publishing material; and holding events relating to the material. The project is also encouraging further accruals of material from the Jewish Community in Sheffield, should people wish to donate relevant material to the Archive.

As has recently been discussed in The Tribune, the practising Jewish Community in Sheffield has decreased in the last half a century. In light of this, the importance of preserving Sheffield’s Jewish heritage before it is forgotten or becomes unknown is heightened.

From as early as the 1980s, a concerted effort was made by members of the United Sheffield Hebrew Congregation, instigated by David Brown, to ensure the safety of the Community’s records. Papers of the orthodox synagogues, other Jewish organisations and individuals were housed in a room in the Kingfield Centre (next to the present-day United Synagogue) at Brincliffe Cresent. As members of the Community passed away or left Sheffield, other papers including more personal family papers were also added to the Archive at Kingfield for safe keeping. Sometimes records of Jewish people were deposited by a neighbour or friend after someone’s death. John Samuels, the honorary archivist, looked after the material at Kingfield and made efforts to list it, until 2021.

What’s in the Archive?

The papers can be broken into three parts:

Congregation Papers – relating to Jewish faith congregations and their synagogues (Fig Tree Lane, West Bar Green, 93 Brunswick Street, Campo Lane, North Church Street, Wilson Road, Brincliffe Cresent etc.). It includes papers of Sheffield Hebrew Congregation; Sheffield Central Hebrew Congregation; United Sheffield Hebrew Congregation; and the Seven Hills Shul Sheffield & District Reform Congregation.


Sheffield Hebrew Congregation Minute Book Oct 1849 - Jul 1887 [JCA/1/3/1/1]

Jewish Organisations and Societies – including the Talmud Torah (Sheffield Hebrew Education Board); Representative Council of Sheffield and District Jews; Chevra Kadisha (Burial Association); Maccabi Association; Board of Guardians; Women’s International Zionist Association; the Zionist Association; Sheffield Jewish Journal; Jewish Library; Group 62; Jewish Forum; Friendship Club; Students Association; Blind Society; Hillel Association; and Ladies Benevolent Society among others.

Programmes of concerts arranged by Jewish Charities, 1928 and the Jewish Literary and Philharmonic Society, 1897

Collected Papers of the Jewish Community – includes small bundles of papers belonging to Jewish individuals and families such as photographs, letters, films, research papers, programmes, speeches, prayer books and notebooks.

Photograph of a Jewish wedding from the Collected Papers of the Sheffield Jewish Community, c. 1930

The whole collection brings to light some of the sites of significance in the history of Jewish Sheffield, including the West Bar area, Ecclesall, Ecclesfield Cemetery and the sites of the many synagogues. As well as sites of religious significance, the records make reference to Jewish shops, factories, legal practices, tailors, kindergartens and clubs. For example, in the 1950s, three separate grocers on Ecclesall Road, were selling Kosher dairy products, none of which is evident if you walk down Eccy Road today.

Secretary's correspondence file for the United Sheffield Hebrew Congregation, with letters detailing grocers stocking Kosher supplies in Sheffield, 1955 [JCA/1/2/3/1/2]

But why does it matter? What’s the point of knowing how things were? Sheffield is a city that is ever-changing. When physical markers (shops, signs, buildings, street furniture etc.) no longer exist, and as the people who remember and can pass on stories of places begin to disappear, archives can help reveal some of what was. 

This Archive is a reminder that things are always changing and have not always been the same.  Our own lifetimes are small threads in a richer tapestry of this city that already has so many woven into it. Knowing about Sheffield’s Jewish history makes clearer just one section of the tapestry of Sheffield. And maybe seeing the tapestry will inform how we move around, think about and interact with each other in this city for the short time that it’s ours.

Get involved

In May 2024, there will be an event in the Central library, supported by the Jane Goodman Charitable Trust in collaboration with the Wiener Holocaust Library and University of Sheffield Jewish Studies Research Network to explore Sheffield’s Jewish history. Sign up to the Libraries newsletter for updates.

If you have material you’d like to consider donating, please contact the Project Archivist.


Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Winter Mini Reading Challenge

The Reading Agency are launching their Winter Mini Challenge on Friday 1st December!

The Winter Mini Challenge is a free online reading challenge that tackles the holiday reading ‘dip’, encouraging children to keep up good reading habits or discover the joy of reading.  It’s a bitesize version of this year’s Ready, Steady, Read! Summer Reading Challenge. 

Children need to read at least three books of their choice to unlock a limited-edition virtual badge and a special Winter Mini Challenge certificate. Children with a Children’s University Passport to Learning can collect three credits on completion of their challenge.  To claim their credits, they will need to take their certificate along to their nearest Sheffield Library and present it to the staff.

To take part in The Winter Mini Challenge children will need to create an online profile with help from their parents or carers at wintermini.org.uk.  They will then be able to log the books that they read and claim their virtual rewards. There are also lots of fun activities available on the website. 

Pop into your local library for reading inspiration!! You can reserve them via the Sheffield Libraries catalogue here and find them in your local library.

Please leave your comments (subject to moderation).

Illustrations by Loretta Schauer and logo artwork by Lizzie Everard.  All © The Reading Agency 2023.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Sheffield Children's Book Award 2023 - winners

We are very excited to announce the winners of the Sheffield Children's Book Award 2023. A special ceremony was held at the Lyceum Theatre on Friday, 3 November to celebrate all our shortlisted books and reveal the winners in each category and then our overall winner. 

And the winners were:

Overall Winner (and also winner of the Toddler Books Category):
Ruffles and the new green thing by David Melling (published by Nosy Crow)

Baby Books Category Winner
Snap! Snap! I'm a Crocodile! by Jo Lodge (published by Boxer Books)
Picture Books Category Winner:
The Huddle by Sean Julian (published by Oxford University Press)

Emerging Reads Category Winner:
The Secret School Invasion by Pamela Butchart and illustrated by Thomas Flintham (published by Nosy Crow)

Shorter Novels Category Winner:
Loki: A Bad God's guide to Being Good by Louie Stowell (published by Walker Books)

Longer Novels Category Winner:
Tyger by SF Said and illustrated by Dave McKean (published by David Fickling Books)

Young Adult Category Winner:
The Butterfly Assassin by Finn Longman (published by Simon and Schuster)

The Sheffield Children's Book Award is run by the Sheffield Schools Library Service and children who use our community libraries can read and vote for their favorite books from the shortlist too.

650 children from Sheffield schools and education settings attended the ceremony along with the shortlisted authors and illustrators. The event was hosted by Joanna Adeyinka-Burford (from CBeebies) and attended by local dignitaries including the Right Worshipful, the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Colin Ross. Afterwards we held "meet the author and illustrator" events which were attended by children from local schools.

If your school does not subscribe to the Sheffield Schools Library Service more information is available at https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/libraries-archives/schools-library-service or contact us on 0114 250 6840. 

If this has inspired you to read these books (and the other shortlisted titles) you can reserve them via the Sheffield Libraries catalogue here and find them in your local library.

Please leave your comments (subject to moderation).

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Hillsborough Library Improvements - updated 16/11/2023

Improvements to Hillsborough Library are well underway. This is an exciting project to improve access to the Children’s Library and create a new Changing Places toilet.

You can read about the project at the following link: https://bit.ly/3LHcJ8m

We have made every effort to keep the library open, however the building work in the coming weeks will be extensive. To make sure we can complete this safely, the Children's Library is currently closed.

The adult library is now open again as of Wednesday 15th November. We currently have a small children's area set up in the adult library. 

We will continue to update you on progress and look forward to welcoming you back to a new improved library very soon.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Books for Children and Young People for Black History Month - October 2023

For Black History Month we have created a list of books for children and young people which are available in Sheffield Libraries.

Picture Books

Grandad Mandela by Zazi Ziwelene & Zindzi Manela and illustrated by Sean Qualls (Publisher: Lincoln Children’s Books)

Our Story Starts in Africa by Patrice Lawrence and illustrated by Jeanetta Gonzales (Publisher: Magic Cat Publishing)

Is That Your Mama by Patrice Lawrence and illustrated by Diane Ewen (Publisher: Scholastic)          

Children’s Fiction

Son of the Circus: A Victorian Story by E L Norry and illustrated by Alette Straathof (Publisher: Scholastic)

How High the Moon by Karyn Parsons (Publisher: Puffin)

A Medal for Leroy by Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by Michael Foreman (Publisher: Square Fish)

Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah (Publisher: Scholastic)

Queen of Freedom by Catherine Johnson (Publisher: Pushkin Children’s Books)

The Elemental Detective by Patrice Lawrence (Publisher Scholastic)

Journey Back to Freedom: The Olaudah Equiano Story by Catherine Johnson (Publisher Barrington Stoke)


A Change Is Gonna Come by various (Publisher: Stripes Publishing)


Katherine Johnson: A Life Story by Leila Rasheed and illustrated by Sarah Papworth (Publisher: Scholastic)

Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker (Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books)

Black and British: An Illustrated History by David Olusoga and illustrated by Jake Alexander and Melleny Taylor (Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books)

Little People, Big Dreams: Muhammad Ali by Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara (Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

Queer Heroes by Arabelle Sicardi and illustrated by Sarah Tanat-Jones (Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions)

Timelines from Black History: Leaders, legends, legacies Introduction by Mireille Harper and illustrated by Lauren Quinn (Publisher: DK Children)

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison (Publisher: Puffin)

Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison (Publisher: Puffin)

Little People, Big Dreams: Josephine Baker by Isabel Sanchez Vegara

and illustrated by Agathe Sorlet (Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

Young Adult

Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle (Publisher: Andersen Press)

Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman (Publisher: Walker Books)

Kemosha of the Caribbean by Alex Wheatle (Publisher: Andersen Press)

You can reserve the books via the Sheffield Libraries catalogue here.

Please leave your comments (subject to moderation).

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Ready, Set, Read! Summer Reading Challenge 2023

Launches Saturday, 8 July in Sheffield Libraries

For this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, The Reading Agency have teamed up with the Youth Sport Trust and Sheffield Libraries to inspire children to discover the power of sport and play through reading. It launches 8 July 2023 in Sheffield Libraries.

It’s FREE to take part in The Summer Reading Challenge, just ask at your local library. Suitable for children from birth to 11 years of age, all children have to do is read or share six books of their choice over the summer holidays, collecting stickers for each book that they read along the way.

Visit Our libraries | Sheffield City Council to find out where your local library is.

All children who complete the challenge in libraries will receive a medal, certificate, and a limited-edition copy of the book of Rebel Girls Kick It: World Champions Take the Pitch-and You Can Too. The Summer Reading Challenge has teamed up with Nike and Rebel Girls to produce this new limited-edition book featuring stories and fun facts alongside original illustrations of Nike athletes, Q&As with coaches and activities to enhance football skills.

Children can also take part in the Summer Reading Challenge online by visiting summerreadingchallenge.org

Illustrations by Loretta Schauer and logo artwork by Lizzie Everard.  All © The Reading Agency 2023.

Monday, July 3, 2023

Pride Season at Sheffield Libraries

                 Image credit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer. Used under Creative Commons licence Attribution 2.0 Generic.

It’s Pride season at Sheffield Libraries, and once again we have an exciting programme of events for you!

LGBTQ+ Books for Kids and Teens online bookchat

Looking for the best in new queer books for kids and teens? The Pride 2023 edition of our online bookchat is now available to watch at your leisure on Facebook. We bring you our top recommendations for all ages, from picture books to Young Adult novels.

In partnership with Lambeth Libraries.

Kit Heyam: Before We Were Trans

Monday 10th July, 6.30pm
Central Library
book via Eventbrite

Before We Were Trans is a new and different story of gender, that seeks not to be comprehensive or definitive, but – by blending culture, feminism and politics – to widen the scope of what we think of as trans history by telling the stories of people across the globe whose experience of gender has been transgressive, or not characterised by stability or binary categories. Transporting us from Renaissance Venice to seventeenth-century Angola, from Edo Japan to North America, the stories this book tells leave questions and resist conclusions.


Before We Were Trans is a history and celebration of gender in all its fluidity, ambiguity and complexity.

Copies of Kit's book will be available to buy and have signed, courtesy of Juno Books.

Sheffield Libraries at Pinknic

Saturday 15th July, 11am-6pm
Peace Gardens


The Little Library Van will be at Pinknic! Come and find out more about our LGBTQ+ collections and services, join the library, or bring your kids for an inclusive story session.

Film screening: Queerama

Wednesday 19th July, 6.30pm
Central Library
Free, book via Eventbrite

Join us for this special Pride month film screening of Queerama, created from the treasure trove of the BFI archive. The story traverses a century of gay experiences, encompassing persecution and prosecution, injustice, love and desire, identity, secrets, forbidden encounters, sexual liberation and pride.

Starting with the first gay relationship on film released in 1919, Different From the Others, Queerama offers a wealth of unknown newsreel and amateur film from the 20s and 30s, the sub textual references in 40s cinema, the arrests and prosecutions of gay men for ‘gross indecency’ in the 50s, the early gay rights marches and decriminalisation of the 60s and 70s, the campaigns for an equal age of consent and against section 28, the Pride movement and AIDS crisis in the 80s and 90s, the sexual liberation of the 00s queer and trans scene and the gay parenting and marriage campaign of recent years.

In partnership with Sheffield DocFest.

Unclassified 18: Films screened at festivals are sometimes not classified by the BBFC. Sheffield DocFest works closely with the Sheffield City Council and films are therefore listed as Unclassified 18 and will only be available for adults over the age of 18.

Paul Baker: Camp! The story of the attitude that conquered the world

Thursday 20th July, 6.30pm
Central Library
Free, book via Eventbrite


Throughout its history, camp has been a place of refuge and renewal, of heroism and hedonism. Famously unrestrained and ever evolving, it has not only captured the cultural imagination, but also played an important role as a form of protest and resistance. Paul Baker takes us through camp’s rebellious and revolutionary past with warmth, humour and sensitivity, starting with the court of Louis XIV and the dandies of the eighteenth century through to Showgirls, Harlem’s drag balls and Columbian telenovelas.

Copies of Paul's book will be available to buy and have signed, courtesy of Juno Books.



LGBTQ+ Reading Group


Last Wednesday of the month, 6.45pm

Central Library


A relaxed and friendly group that meets monthly to discuss a queer-themed book. Please email elizabeth.chapman@sheffield.gov.uk if you are interested in joining.



LGBTQ+ Collection

The Central Library holds our dedicated LGBTQ+ collection, containing fiction and non-fiction relating to many aspects of LGBTQ+ life. All our libraries hold LGBTQ+-interest titles. Magazines including Diva, Gay Times and Attitude are available via the eLibrary for free.