BBC Novels that Shaped our World

Libraries Connected will work with BBC Arts and libraries to deliver a programme of innovative activities for all communities.

The invitation for proposals went out in October 2019 and we had a wonderful set of responses from libraries that showcased the diverse range of communities they serve.

The 39 successful libraries are now commissioning artists, creatives and local partners to curate a series of events at marginalised groups, including refugees, young people at risk of knife crime, prisoners and adults with dementia. The programme is funded by Arts Council England and supported by the BBC’s local radio stations and includes:

  • An extensive series of arts and cultural events across the year led by public libraries as part of The Novels That Shaped Our World festival
  • Digital resources for reading groups and libraries created by The Reading Agency and BBC Arts
  • Digital training for library staff which will leave a legacy of digital resources, skills and new partnerships for libraries. 

To kick off the festival, a BBC-assembled panel discussed their list of 100 novels that have shaped their world in a live broadcast beamed into libraries across the UK from the British Library in November. The full list of 100 novels are being made available in libraries and the titles can be found on the BBC website.

The festival will close with a special celebration in National Libraries Week and will be followed by a national conference for libraries and stakeholders.

Arts Council England, The British Library, The Reading Agency, the Booksellers Association, CILIP and the Publishers’ Association are all partners in this exciting project.

Ten more places for library events!

Libraries Connected is delighted to announce that as part of the reprogramming of the BBC Novels That Shaped Our World libraries events programme, we are opening up the schedule for an extra 10 libraries. Each library will be awarded £1,000 funding to put on an event between January and March 2021 responding to one of the novels on the list, or one of its themes.

Libraries will be required to encourage those communities in your area which are not regular users to your service. We are also really keen that the focus is on these groups:

  • Bereavement 
  • Loneliness
  • Economic depravation
  • Diversity
  • Mental health

If you and your service are interested in adding to the existing program, please send in an initial expression of interest to Simon Savidge  and Tessa Blades by 5pm Tuesday 8 September. You will then be sent a form for more details to be completed and returned by Friday 11 September 2020.

Novels that Shaped our World surveys

An international team of academics is working with BBC Arts and a host of other project partners including ourselves, the British Library and The Reading Agency on an ambitious new engagement project to mark the 300th anniversary of the English Language novel.

The team will help the BBC to gather data on the way in which the general public engages with the monthly group of 10 novels that are released in categories including ‘Identity’, ‘Love Sex and Romance’ and ‘Rule Breakers’. 

We would like to know which novels the public has read, and what they think about them. Towards the end of the project, a longer survey will be released to understand how the general audience responded to the entire, year-long project.

The first three surveys on Identity; Love, Sex and Romance; and Adventure are now live.