Local school children saw their special framed limited edition poems unveiled at the Dalston C.L.R James Library last week (Tuesday 22 May).
As part of the arts project celebrating Hackney Council’s Dalston C.L.R James Library and Hackney Archives, a group of children used an artisan letterpress to make their own limited edition prints of poems they had written
Every term-time since February, Year 5 children from Holy Trinity Primary School spent a day at Dalston C.L.R James Library and Hackney Archives. They worked closely with performance poet Adisa and New North Press on the project that aimed to get the children to know their new library archives and staff, and develop a strong sense of it being a place for them
Adisa led the pupils through a series of challenges and projects that culminated in the pupils writing poems about their experiences of the new library and archives. Activities included literary trails through the library; quizzes on the life of CLR James; pupils interviewing staff and members of the public on their ipads and making literary journals or scrap books. They were also given a tour of Hackney Archives.
Then the pupils took their poems to the New North Press where master-printer Graham Bignell showed them how to transform them into limited edition prints on an old style artisan letterpress.
Cllr Jonathan McShane, Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Health Social Care and Culture said; ” Well done to all the children who put in so much hard work in producing their poems. Through projects like this we want to encourage more and more people to use the Dalston C.L.R James Library and Hackney Archives. It’s great news that many of pupils involved have returned to the library in their own time and that the school now has a strong relationship with the library and archives. I’d like to congratulate all the children who took part in this project.”
Adisa describes himself as having a 'love affair' with libraries and he is passionate about local young people discovering literature for themselves.
He said: “Working on the Dalston CLR James library project with Holly Trinity School highlighted just how important libraries are to a community. I watched the students confidence grow immensely as they became more and more at home in the space. I think the beauty of the project lies in the process of the students becoming detectives to find out what libraries are all about and what exactly can they offer a community. The opportunity to turn their findings into poetry and immortalise it in print and then to finally see their work on the library wall, for some of those students this will have been a life changing experience.”
The pupils’ framed poems are exhibited at Dalston CLR James Library until the end of school holidays. Other copies of their poems will be displayed in every other Hackney library.
Holy Trinity School is the nearest school to the new library. The school doesn't have a library or an ICT suite; and now the staff regard the library and archives as a key educational resource.
Dalston C.L.R. James Library is open Monday to Friday; 9am-5pm, Saturdays; and 1-5pm, Sundays and already over 4000 people have visited. It’s one of the largest public libraries to open recently and it’s twice the size of the one it replaces. Spread over three floors, the super library covers 2600 square metres and features separate adult, teen and children sections, 57 computers, study space and self-service technology and it holds events and reading groups.
It’s really easy to join Hackney Libraries, just visit a local library or fill in the online form. Find out more at; www.hackney.gov.uk/libraries or; call 020 8356 3000.
Hackney Archives searchroom is open, and all the collections are being moved to their new home. The full archives service, providing access to the unique historical documents in the archives, will open soon.
Arts Council England providing some funding for the project.