Spotted in Bermuda

A few weeks ago we escaped a dreary, wet Glasgow for a week in Bermuda. It’s a beautiful place about which a full set of posts will appear on my travel blog in due course. In the meantime, here are a few book and library-related items for your delectation.

Above is the National Library in the capital, City of Hamilton – I suspect it’s the only library, though it also has a children’s section in a separate building.

Elsewhere in Hamilton were these fabulous sculptures of people reading. The telephone box is in the Old Town of St George’s – it calls itself The Telephone Book Swap Library so it’s covering all options.

Finally, next to our hotel was Bermuda College Library. I think I could survive working here.

Happy Christmas!

Mary Barbour

Remember Mary Barbour is a campaign to create a lasting memorial to one of Glasgow’s greatest heroes. Mary (1875-1938) was a Scottish political activist who is particularly remembered for her role leading the Rent Strikes of 1915. Unscrupulous landlords thought they could take of advantage of thousands of workers flocking to Glasgow to jobs in the shipyards and munitions factories during WW1.  Also, as many men were away fighting or in German prisoner of war camps, the landlords thought the women would be a soft touch. Step in Mrs Barbour and her Army! Read more on the campaign’s page but, suffice it to say, the landlords didn’t get away with it and Parliament passed the Rent Restriction Act, the first of its kind in Europe, setting rents for the duration of the war and for six months afterwards at pre-war levels.

It would be wonderful to have a statue of Mary in Govan, her home, in time for the centenary of the Rent Strikes next year. The campaign has so far raised enough money to commission maquettes (small-scale models) of five shortlisted designs. These were on display at the People’s Palace yesterday, and I went to have a look. Hover over the gallery to see the captions with the names of the sculptors.

Opinions were being collected – which would you have favoured? I like the one of Mary vigorously brandishing a placard, or the one with her hand in the air and her army following behind. They both have a sense of movement and determination. However, any of them would be an asset to a city which, as yet, has only three statues of women.

If you’re in Glasgow, or have Glasgow connections, keep an eye on the campaign’s website for news of more viewings. There is also a page on JustGiving if you wish to donate.

Book Week Scotland: Spot the Reader

It’s Book Week Scotland – the first ever. I volunteered to help my local library service deliver goody bags this morning – here we all are on the steps of Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art ready to “Spot the Reader”.

Setting out from GoMA with our goody bags
Setting out from GoMA with our goody bags

In groups of 2 or 3, we went round various coffee shops (permission had already been sought) to look for people who were reading and give them a bag containing information about the week and a free book. I think this was a great publicity idea and we did really well – there must have been about 100 bags given out altogether. However, it was actually quite hard to find readers. Some of the cafés were really quiet and most of the people who were there seemed to be with companions and chatting away, but we decided just to approach them anyway. Some even approached us themselves because they were curious, some were ready for a blether, and some – inexplicably – didn’t want a free book! Still, those that refused did so very politely and apologetically. A few people already knew about Book Week Scotland, most didn’t, but we’ve spread the word a bit further and when Lynsay and I were walking back to GoMA from our third outing, we were gratified to spot people walking down Buchanan Street who already had the blue bags.

An aside – I was amused to notice that the Duke of Wellington statue outside GoMA, which usually sports a traffic cone (it’s a Glasgow tradition), was flying a Minnie Mouse balloon today. During the Olympics, when medallists’ home towns were getting gold postboxes, Wellington even got a gold traffic cone. Only in Glasgow!

The Duke
The Duke

Anyway, back to Book Week. I did of course save myself a goody bag – now to get reading the free book.