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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 06 March 2006

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To Kill a Mockingbird’ tops librarian poll

OF ALL the books ever written, the one that tops the list of ‘must reads’ is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee according to the nation’s librarians. The results of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council’s (MLA) survey© of librarians coincides with World Book Day on 2 March, when everyone in the country is encouraged to read more books.

In answer to the question ‘Which book should every adult read before they die?’ the librarian survey received an eclectic response with nominations varying from the Bible (the 2nd most recommended book) to the Karma Sutra. Following JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy in 3rd place the classics dominated. Favourites included Charlotte Bronté’s Jane Eyre, George Orwell’s 1984, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Surprisingly however, Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code received only 1 nomination, despite being a bestseller in the bookshops.

In this classic tale by Harper Lee, a black man is charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with energetic humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 1930's.

Diana Ashcroft, a librarian at Trafford Libraries voted for To Kill a Mockingbird. She commented:- “This book has all the factors of a great read. It is touching and funny but has a serious message about prejudice, fighting for justice and coming of age. I read it years ago at school and have since re-read it many times and each time I see something different as it has many layers and topics for conversation.”

Mark Wood, Chairman of MLA commented on the results:- “World Book Day is the perfect time to rediscover libraries as they can open up whole new worlds and capture our imagination. While many of the nominations were classics which have stood the test of time, it was interesting to note which of the newer titles are also making their mark among librarians. This goes to show that if you are stuck for something to read, you should ask a librarian.”

Although the newer titles received fewer nominations in this survey, Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones and Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife all featured in the top 30, and so could potentially climb the poll to become top recommendations and classics of the future.

World Book Day is the biggest annual event supporting books and reading in the UK and Ireland and the emphasis for 2006 is celebration. Schools, libraries, bookshops and other venues are being encouraged to hold even more book related events, activities and parties than in previous years!

Have your say... Which is the best National Lottery funded project in the North West?

THE search is on to find the North West's favourite Lottery funded projects with the launch of The National Lottery Awards 2006. If you know of someone in the area who deserves recognition, or you are involved with a Lottery funded project that is doing amazing things, enter now.

The Awards celebrate and recognise how Lottery funding has transformed the lives of communities and individuals throughout the UK. So far 17,083 National Lottery grants have been given out in the North West, totalling over £1.5 billion.  The National Lottery is calling for all those in the North West who have received Lottery funding, whether big grants or small, to take this opportunity to share their success stories and show how they have made a
positive difference.

Encouraging people to enter the Awards is last year's North West winner Mel Diack. The youth worker who has helped hundreds of children and young people in his community, said:- "I was over the moon to win a Lottery award last year. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with so many young people, and this is all thanks to Lottery funding. I look forward to the Lottery helping many more young people. I would definitely recommend anyone who is using Lottery money to enter the Awards. The whole experience from start to finish was just a wonderful experience."

Following the close of nominations on 28 April, a judging panel will draw up a short-list of the best entries from the North West; these will then be put to a public vote. The most popular project from the region will then face 11 other finalists from across the UK and will compete in a second round of public voting to decide the overall UK winners.  Winners will be announced at a special event later this year and will have their achievements highlighted on a special BBC programme to celebrate National Lottery Day this Autumn.

Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport said:- "In just over a decade the National Lottery has gone from numbers game to national institution. But it's not just about creating millionaires.  From village halls to Olympic gold, the £18bn raised for good causes has made an enormous impact on people's lives across the country. The National Lottery Awards are a fantastic way of showcasing the breadth of this accomplishment. And just like the Lottery you've got to be in it to win it, so I'd encourage grant recipients to enter and show how they've made a difference."

Since The National Lottery began in 1994, Lottery players have raised £18 billion for good causes and over 220,000 grants have been given out.  As the largest programme of civic regeneration since the 19th century, The National Lottery has changed the face of the UK. Funding has assisted a huge range of projects including well known icons such as the Lowry centre in Salford; community-based initiatives such as last year's regional winner Mel Diack as well as Olympic athletes, sporting facilities and hundreds of community halls and churches.

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