Halton Borough Council staff are a resourceful lot and got together, socially distanced of course, to see how they could have a reading festival during the Covid crisis.

After having to cancel Halton Readathon in June, our libraries got an Arts Council England grant to put on a virtual festival, which was a resounding success.

Staff moved the event to November as #HaltonReads Festival and were able to increase the number of authors involved.

There were 38 schools taking part & more than 12,000 children watched the authors sharing stories via Youtube.

Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Libraries, Cllr Phil Harris, said: “It was lovely to see that so many participated and obviously get so much out of it.”

Staff had a lot of positive feedback, including this from local writer Sarah Oliver.

She said: “What can I say, Halton Reads was absolutely amazing. It has been the best thing that’s happened in Halton for a very long time and I know it’s going to have a lasting impact on me and all the children and adults who took part.

“I watched all of the author talks and it was so fantastic – I have a one year old (plus a four year old and seven year old) and being able to watch them with the baby was great, something I wouldn’t have been able to do with an in-person event.

“The authors all had something unique and amazing to share and I learnt so much from every one.

“I have struggled to fit in reading time – but during the two weeks I didn’t watch TV or any catchup services and instead read as much as I could. I felt so much better for it and have continued since. I am a reader and I am pushing myself, reading things I wouldn’t normally read .

“Being able to ask questions and have conversations with 3 of the authors on twitter was a real highlight. Thank you so much.”

Author talks

Steve Cole – Children’s author
Patrice Lawrence – Children/teens author
Barbara Mitchelhill – Children’s author
Marie Basting – Children’s author
Bali Rai – Children/teens author
Gareth P Jones – Children’s author
Matt Goodfellow – Children’s poet
Jennifer Killick – Children’s author
Mama G – Children’s story teller
Lydia Monks – Children’s book illustrator
Heather Wright – CPD

What did you enjoy about the festival? Let us know on social media using #Haltonreads.

Look out for more library events in the new year as Halton Libraries take part in Celebrate Halton –Halton’s year as Borough of Culture. Find out more on the website celebratehalton.co.uk or search ‘celebrate Halton’