Lark in the Park 2009, Canterbury, Kent
Bookstart Bear and Sock-o-saurus were just two of the characters that were in the Dane John Gardens, Canterbury, for Lark in the Park in May 2009. The event was held from 10am to 4pm, as a fun way to raise awareness of Canterbury library’s new temporary location in Pound Lane, while the City Library and Museum at the Beaney Institute is redeveloped. We also aimed to tell people about the wide range of services on offer from Canterbury Library, Canterbury City Museums and Canterbury Cathedral Archives.
Entertainment for all ages was on offer. For children, Baby Rhyme Time, Storytime, Bookstart Bear, and Sock-o-saurus – children made their own Sock-o-saurus (prizes were given for the best).
For all ages there was:
- Reading Group Jamboree – a chance to meet some of the reading groups from the Canterbury area
- Local History – find out about the Dane John
- The Case of the Drunken Vicar; a play performed by volunteers from the Cathedral Archives
- Shoot and Score; a penalty shoot-out contest with library staff to win a free DVD loan
- Blues in the Bandstand – live music
- Poetry readings by the Save As Writers, former Canterbury Laureate Patricia Debney and The Word.
Local people of all ages including specific events targeted at specific groups (eg. Sock-o-saurus and the Reading Group Jamboree)
- To raise awareness of the new temporary location of the Library
- To promote library, archive and museum services
- To build relationships for future partnership working
- To be the focal point of Canterbury for a day and maximise media coverage
We started at 10am and finished at 4pm as planned with everything in place. Staff pulled together to run a successful event. One stortytelling group failed to show due to illness, but library staff stepped in to cover the events. Time2Give Volunteers helped on several stalls. Variety of stands and events highlighting library services – some books loaned out on the day. Very well attended - about 600 visitors through the course of the day despite very low budget
After the event:
- Book issues increased by 445 from May to June 2009, and then significantly into July (from 11,563 to 13,652 – up 18%). In 2008, at the Beaney Institute issues decreased from May to June by 1,429, although they did pick up again into July (17,738 to 19,671 – up 11%).
- Visitor figures went up in June 2009 too from 10,541 in May to 10,856. In the same period in 2008 at the Beaney Institute, visitor figures fell from 32,258 to 31,369.
- Received positive press coverage.
Learning points for future planning:
- Have a wider variety of performance based events – and not so much poetry – so we cater for all ages.
- Promote the event in the local media at an earlier date.
- More space for display of library books and services.
“some of the best promotion is by word-of-mouth”;
“I watched the play about the drunken vicar…very good fun! Had my 4 kids with me and they really loved the day”;
“perfect English day in the park”;
“excellent Lark in the Park for Reading Groups. Good discussions and quizzes”; “how about making it into a proper festival?”;
“I didn’t realise you had a library service in Canterbury now the main library has gone”;
"generally a positive experience; would like a repeat event”
“big cheers all round”; “very well organised, we all knew what was expected of us”; “good fun with many things for families to take part in and great weather”; “would like a repeat event”
Who runs this project?
Kent Libraries & Archives
Porchlight (Homeless charity) / Time2Give Volunteers / Canterbury City Council (museums)/ Cathedral Archives / Canterbury Festival / Save As Writers / The Word
Contact details for the project
Ian.email@example.com, Customer Services Officer
Martin.firstname.lastname@example.org, Resource Development Officer
email@example.com, Customer Service Development Librarian