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Accessibility & Translation

“Reading is a conversation…”

Monday 12th October 2020

Last week was Libraries Week, and up and down the country, and with a worthy presence on social media, libraries and their users celebrated the valuable yet humble services that they offer. One writer, Ann Cleeves – creator of Vera Stanhope and Jimmy (Shetland) Perez – is a huge supporter of public libraries. Unsurprisingly many other writers are too. 

However Ann Cleeves has also in recent years focused her support of public libraries on one area in particular. She offered to co-sponsor a scheme near her home in the north-east of England where bibliotherapists – or reading coaches – help people contend with physical and mental health issues. They help by providing overall support and ‘a listening ear’ but they also help by encouraging the use of reading material. 

This reading material may be to help them get a broader understanding of their own issues but these reading coaches offer up much more. They suggest books and poetry that can help with their emotional well-being. They encourage people to make connections with others through libraries and reading groups. This pandemic has made some of this harder to do but the reading coaches have called upon virtual book groups, and the newly reopened public libraries for support. There’s a lovely quote from the author Mark Haddon which says “Reading is a conversation. All books talk. But a good book listens as well.”

There have been a few research projects in recent years that have established what we have all assumed – that reading books is good for our mental health. They entertain, they educate, they allow us to escape to different worlds, they keep us company. Ultimately, they give us joy.

The last six months have proven to be difficult for many people but it’s obvious that for some, solace has been found in books and reading. 

“Just looking at my own mother – a widow in her mid-70s with underlying health issues that have kept her confined to her home for much of the time since March.I see someone who benefits enormously from the company of books. She is an avid reader anyway but has found joy in reading even more voraciously than usual. She has attended virtual book festivals and when I speak to her, she is always telling me she has been reading and what I MUST NOW READ. I’m almost 50 years old but for once I’ll break the habit of a lifetime and do as I’m told. Because sharing that love of a book with someone is almost as good as the initial enjoyment that you get from reading it yourself in the first place.” Alison

“My in-laws eventually managed to have a Kindle! Both are over 80, but still very lively – they missed so much their yearly 3-week holiday in Scotland in their campervan due to lockdown – they didn’t put up with the long summer in the garden just by sitting on their lovely swing sipping their favourite gin & tonic!

Disappointed and lost with the public library closure, my mother-in-law asked for a Kindle for her birthday. After a bumpy start just to understand how it works, she is now enjoying it and I don’t think she will go back to paper books. I also think a Kindle makes them feel young and cool and they make me laugh to see them having a conversation about their kindle with their teenage grandchildren. Not to mention the terror in their eyes when my kids start talking about the multiple functions and settings to use and pretend that they have understood!

A Kindle and an iPad in their house is just futuristic!” Paola

Let’s face it – books are basically good for the soul.

Quick Reads
Quick Reads were launched on World Book Day in 2006 by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair.  These are generally abridged versions of books that have already been published and, by shortening them, they are proving to be more accessible for readers of different levels. They are a great way to help those who find it difficult to pick up a book and help them to discover the joy that can be found by reading a good story. So far, there have been over a 100 titles published with over 4.8 million copies distributed. 

It looked  like the scheme was coming to an end due to lack of funding in 2018 but the author Jojo Moyes agreed to step in and support the scheme for a further three years.

This year’s collection of QR stories arrived in our LRC just as we closed our doors in March. They are a very well balanced collection of stories – from romance to psychological thriller via a little bit of mystery.

  • Adam Kay This is Going to Hurt – Sarah did a review of this way back in one of our very first blog posts.
  • AA Dhand Streets of Darkness – this was also the subject of one of our book reviews but Alison had read the fuller version of the story.
  • Millie Johnson – The Little Dreams of Lara Cliffe – Amsterdam, a hen party, a meeting with a former love – what will this mean to the wedding?
  • Claire Mackintosh The Donor – the mother of a heart donor recipient meets the mother of the donor. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Candice Carty-Williams – Notting Hill Carnival : a West Side Story – a tale of two rival gangs in London and a bit of star-crossed loving (with a hint of Othello’s green-eyed monster)
  • And finally, a collection of short stories from the likes Mike Gayle, Jojo Moyes, and Ian Rankin gathered under the title of A Fresh Start.

Copies of these books are available at both Weybridge and Ashford campuses. 

You can read more details about the scheme here. The titles for 2021 have been announced and they are looking very good.


National Baking Week 14th-20th October
The Great British Bake Off is back on our screens – a delight to watch as much because, having practised quarantine pre-filming the show, the presenters and contestants are behaving as if it’s business as usual. And now it’s National Baking Week. Sian’s presentation here is positively mouth watering. She has included some pictures of beautiful looking baked goods that have been produced by our own catering students.

The College has a current initiative for younger chefs/bakers. A six week Junior Chef Academy course to be run on Saturday mornings. You can find more details here.

Book Review
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Rating: 5/5

My Sister, the Serial Killer had me hooked from the moment I first read the title. It’s no spoiler to say that the main character Korede’s sister is a serial killer – the clue is in the title. Ayoola has developed a nasty habit of killing her boyfriends, claiming they were attacking her. Korede has heard this claim a few times too many to believe her sister, especially when Ayoola doesn’t realise how soon is too soon to post selfies on social media after her most recent boyfriend goes ‘missing’. Despite this, Korede still helps her clean up the crime scenes.

However, Korede’s loyalty to Ayoola is tested further when her murderous sister starts dating a handsome doctor at the hospital Korede works at, who Korede has had a crush on for a while. Will Korede be able to warn him off before the inevitable happens? Blood may be thicker than water, but family loyalty is tested to its limits when it is spilled…

If you think this is a heavy thriller, think again. My Sister, the Serial Killer is a wickedly funny book. I highly recommend it as a fresh take on the classic thriller format.

– Beth-Anna

We love…

In her ‘other’ (and pre-COVID) life, Assistant Librarian Alison is also a front-of-house volunteer at the Victoria and Albert Museum. A job she loves and misses so keeps an eye out for any news coming from that direction. She came across this article and video featuring one of its art galleries, with some music accompaniment. 

Actually, it’s the 2020 Mercury Prize-winning singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka giving a truly wonderful performance of ‘Solid Ground’, with the V&A paintings as a backdrop and the almost empty gallery adding to the acoustics. Bliss – Michael Kiwanuka at the V&A


Book Loans
Worried about fines? No problem. All loans have been renewed and fines waived while the LRC was closed. Books can now be returned to the College. Please contact the LRC to find out about current procedures.

Access our virtual library online
You can search for e-books on the library catalogue or directly through our e-book providers.. Click on the Shibboleth login if requested and select Brooklands College. If you have any problems please do not hesitate to contact us at
Heritage Online | Proquest 

The LRC is still available for book borrowing. Although our shelves are currently not available for browsing we can help find materials for you. Contact us with an area you are interested in or your assignment title and we can suggest some resources for you.

LRC website 
The LRC website contains links to our resources, our online catalogue and is full of information about LRC use, plus there are book reviews, links to our displays and other items of interest. It is only available to College members (sorry) and can be found through links on the LRC Google Classroom, and on the staff and student intranets.

LRC Google Classroom page
Tutors have been invited to join the Classroom and will be passing on the joining code to their students. It’s full of links to resources, and helpful advice and tips to help you with your studies.

Please contact us at if you need support with e-books, e-resources or anything else.

Contact Us

Brooklands College Weybridge Campus

Heath Road, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 8TT

Brooklands College Ashford Campus

Stanwell Road, Ashford TW15 3DU