Hanham Library - Session One
In the Morning: Working with people wanting to improve their Mental Health
After getting to know each other a little we toured the library searching out golden glittery bookmarks. We retrieved the marked books and ranged them on the library table - secretly selecting a book from the stash, we shared our preferences with a partner who communicated our choice to the group in words or occasionally a small performance.
[My partner] chose the map. As he’s feeling a bit lost in life at the moment.
Life's like a round about . . .
They've got sat nav now!
Taking inspiration from a display of objects including a blow up palm tree, pebbles, and lavender oil we each created our ideal place to relax (perhaps to relax and read or perhaps to do something else like watch a DVD, do some yoga or Cyroc dancing). Everyone shared their space with a ten second performance or description of them doing their relaxing activity in their space.
Our final activity of the morning was to create a list of 10 rules of the library and then more excitingly a list of 10 No Ways. Liz and Lucy promised they would create a performance out of the list ready for next week.
- No space hoppers
- No ducks
- No amateur wrestling
- No throwing books
- No porn
- No nudity
- No heavy machinery
- No antisocial behaviour
- No foul language
- No firearms
We started the afternoon retrieving golden marked books and sharing our preferences in performances and conversations.
Doreen chose the dogs book and Ken and Doreen shared stories of their huge dog “Our Tiny”
We talked for a long time sharing stories inspired by the books particularly the ones about sewing:
. . . there was no allowance for clothes but there was for material . . . that was the difference between girls and boys . . . there weren’t men around . . . . “I’d rather tackle a policeman than my mother”
I’ve known [him] for a long time and he's said more today than I've ever heard him say
Liz led us on a tour of the library and read out contributions from Library staff sharing their favourite place in the library.
. . . I like to imagine all the people who have handled the books in the decades before . . . . an ordinary bristolian . . . I want to dream of blue seas and skies . . . I envy them their freedom and guts to make the change . . . my favourite section is, always has been and always will be . . . the evolution of basketball . . . Friday film nights . . . old books into new crafts [Zoe shares her favourite section] . . . a moment in time, I wish we could capture it . . .
As in the morning we ended the day making a small scene of a place where we enjoyed reading: snuggled up on the sofa in lots and lots of blankets and miles high in an aeroplane looking at the world below.