In Volume 21 we enjoyed chatting with Yvonne from Tobermory Library located in Argyll, Scotland.

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Word of the Week

A state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety; tranquillity. The word derives from the Ancient Greek (ἀταραξία) and it generally thought to have first been used by Pyrrho and other philosophers who believed this state was linked to maximising lucid thinking. Outside of philosophy it was used to describe the ideal mental state for a soldier before entering a battle.

The Interview

What’s your role in the library? 
I’m Library Assistant-in-charge of Tobermory Library on the beautiful Isle of Mull in western Scotland. I’m also the Bookbug trainer for LiveArgyll libraries. (Bookbug = songs and stories for the very young and their families.)

What’s great about your library? 
Tobermory is one of the smallest libraries in Argyll, but we serve an amazing range of people. I also have a lot to do with the school which is based on the same campus (Primary 3/4/5 recently held a book launch in the public library). We have a light, open space with plenty of room for everyone.

Who’s your favourite author?
My favourite living author is SciFi writer Neal Stephenson (Cryptonomicon, Anathem). I like a book that challenges me. My favourite used to be Ursula Le Guin, but she’s now duking it out with J R R Tolkien to be my favourite dead author.

If you could change one thing in the library world, what would it be
I’d like to see more investment in expanding public library services, because we play such an important role in the lives of our communities,
especially when it comes to people who are vulnerable or have limited life-chances. I’d especially like to make libraries more autism-friendly.

How do you think libraries are going to change in the next decade?
It’s all about the digital age! Our members can access a great range of e-books and e-audiobooks, and that can only increase in future. The paper book is alive and kicking (long may it last) but we can offer our borrowers so much more.

What’s your favourite club, workshop or competition that your library runs?
I’m always going to say Bookbug! It’s a fun, friendly, free, open-to-all opportunity to let someone else grab your child’s attention while you kick back and join in the singing. It’s great for literacy development, but also lovely life-affirming fun. And the same skills that apply to Bookbug can be used to make storytelling and interactive singing a great experience for all ages. Make a fool of myself in public with a book? Always. 😀

Which mythological creature would you like to exist?
Selkies. My greatest desire is to be able to breathe underwater. Imagine the discoveries to be made there – the creatures to encounter, the mysteries to solve. But it would be awfully lonely if I was the only speaking being down there.

Any questions for me?
Digital reading is a brilliant phenomenon, but there’s still room in our hearts for physical books and actual bookshops. What (and where) is your favourite Indie Bookshop? (Mine is Tackle and Books in Tobermory – where you can buy exactly what their name suggests!)

I googled Tackle and Books and it looks fantastic! I think mine has to be Libreria in Shoreditch (, even though it has a full wall mirror at the back which I almost walked into on my first visit…

Many thanks Yvonne for your contribution to the series!

Are you a librarian? Would you like to participate? Get in touch with the team at