What is the difference between the qualified inspector and the non qualified inspector?

Twenty publishers have been partners in the project and have provided substantial and crucial sponsorship, including Penguin, Faber, Bloomsbury, Mills and Boon and Harper Collins, whilst Waterstones, Browns, W H Smith, Ottakers and Oxfam have provided bookshops. One of the highlights of the season was BBC Radio 4 recording an edition of Book Club in Scunthorpe, with Ruth Rendell and James Naughtie.

Readers have the opportunity not only to hear their favourite authors speak, but also to discuss their books with them in smaller groups. During the lunch break they can browse the Readers’ Fair with bookshops, book swap stalls and information about reading groups. Each event has also featured local people talking about their own reading and the part it plays in their lives. Overall, the Readers’ Festivals will have drawn an audience of two thousand people and the feedback forms are almost unanimously positive and enthusiastic.

The benefits for the general public have included: making new, like-minded friends; a growth in the number of reading groups and a sense of celebration of reading as one of the greatest pleasures in life. The project has achieved many objectives for the region and for individual library services at local level, including raising the profile of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire in terms of authors’ and publishers’ awareness and it has given the general public unique opportunities to spend a day with top authors in a setting which goes beyond mere book signing. It has also enabled libraries to reaffirm their commitment to books, Building Inspection Fees, reading and literacy in the electronic age.

Many library staff throughout the region will join me in thanking Tom Palmer and James Nash for their significant contributions to the project. I would also like to acknowledge Steve Dearden who encouraged the Reading Promotion Network in the early days, and Jane Stubbs and Arts Council England, Yorkshire for awarding the grant which made the project possible.