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Stewart Parsons' well read on Lancashire libraries
Stewart Parsons with Daisy Dares You
Stewart Parsons with Daisy Dares You who is headlining GILIL 2010

Warton's Stewart Parsons can give chapter and verse on the joys of reading.

"Reading is a conduit to happiness," he says.

Stewart is in charge of getting young people to check out the county's libraries and he's won a string of awards for funking up the stuffy image of libraries.

It's not been an easy task; the 14 to 25 year old age group are the lowest using age group of all.


However, Stewart - who leads Cultural Youth Offer in Lancashire Libraries - has managed to make libraries cool.

You can now join libraries online
You can return books anywhere in the county no matter where you borrowed them from
You can use the internet for free for two hours
Lancashire libraries have two million books available for loan

He's done his homework; he's done everything from fashion design courses to Apprentice-style events for budding entrepreneurs, he's installed Macs for musicians to record demos and staged film workshops to get young people through library doors.

He's also worked on projects to promote young poets' work but the most successful initiative has been Get It Loud In Libraries.

GILIL has changed the perception most youngsters have of libraries, "It's libraries in skinny jeans with cool lipstick on. Libraries as a night out."

Stewart's GILIL concept of holding free live gigs in local libraries has proved such a hit the concept has been copied by libraries all over the country.

It's libraries in skinny jeans with cool lipstick on. Libraries as a night out.
Stewart Parsons on Get It Loud In Libraries

The project has been boosted by the big names he's got on board to encourage the audience to read. The line-up includes three Brit Award winners; Adele, Florence and the Machine and Ellie Goulding.

Get It Loud In Libraries 2010 is spearheaded by emerging pop starlet Daisy Dares You as well as Goulding, the recent recipient of the Brits Critics' Choice Award.

'Cultural soul of our cities'

Once in libraries, Stewart says young people can see how libraries have moved with the times."The digital and internet resource in libraries is massive now."

Promoting reading is the dream job for Stewart who has worked for Lancashire Libraries for 24 years.

All-time favourite book: Reservation Road by John Burnham Schwartz. "Beautifully written and heartrending."
Favourite type of books: Crime thrillers. "When I first worked in libraries I was so sniffy about them but I've grown to love them. They're addictive."

"Libraries are amazing places; they are the cultural soul of our cities."

His passion have been recognised with the Love Libraries Award, MLA Innovation Award, LGC Awards Innovation and Small and Beautiful Award to name a few.

Stewart's love affair with books started when he was born, "I was read to as a baby!"

Now 43, he shares his passion for reading with his wife... and says they often go to bed with a book. "A rain lashed night, bed and reading go together so well."

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