I've often written and spoken of my lifelong enthusiasm for libraries. I've haunted them since childhood, and most of my early crime reading was of library editions of writers such as Agatha Christie, Sayers, Michael Gilbert, and so on. When I became a published author, library events became an important part of my literary life. And one of the absolute highlights of my career was winning the CWA Dagger in the Library, because that is voted for by librarians up and down the country.
All this means that, when the opportunity arises, I'm keen to give something back to the library community, which has done so much for me. An idea crossed my mind early this year in connection with National Crime Reading Month in June. I approached Rachel Ralston of LiveWire, who run Warrington's libraries (more than a dozen in all) and we worked out an idea which, happily, came to fruition recently.
The idea was to put on an exhibition about crime writing, past and present, which could be displayed in Warrington's libraries during National Crime Reading Month. The aim, of course, was to interest people in crime writing and also some aspects of it with which they are probably unfamiliar. The material was divided into manageable segments, so that an abridged version of the exhibition could be put on in any venue where space was at a premium. The material was presented extremely well, with invaluable input from Rachel's colleague Tyler, and I was delighted with the result.
To run alongside the exhibition, I devised a crime quiz (I've done a few of these lately, at Alibis in the Archive and at Shetland Noir as well) and last Friday I was happy to present the winner, Alan McGinty, with a signed copy of one of my books. I'm really pleased with the feedback about the exhibition, which has been warmly welcomed by librarians and readers alike, and I hope to run more exhibitions of this kind in the future. Libraries are such an important part of our communities and deserve our wholehearted support.