Looking for a lost world? Try Sidmouth library

PUBLISHED: 13:54 30 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:24 17 June 2010

A NEW Reading Adventure is being lined up for Sidmouth library lovers next month, with the magical world of dinosaurs waiting to be discovered.

A NEW Reading Adventure is being lined up for Sidmouth library lovers next month, with the magical world of dinosaurs waiting to be discovered.

This is the third year that the Reading Adventure has been rolled out across libraries around the country, encouraging readers to all read the same book and take part in a variety of activities around its theme.

Previous years have seen hundreds of people across Devon agreeing to read Around the World in 80 Days (2006) and Small Island (2007).

This year sees the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. To mark this double celebration readers in Devon will join readers in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol, Shrewsbury, Hampshire, and 13 other library authorities in the South West in reading Conan Doyle's classic adventure story, The Lost World.

Executive Member for Culture, Councillor Sheila Hobden, said: "The idea of getting as many people as possible to discover a single book, one they may never have chosen for themselves, has proven to really capture readers' imaginations."

Devon County Council's libraries service has taken delivery of 3,600 copies of the book, which will be available for loan in all the county's libraries from the beginning of February. In addition, an accompanying readers' guide, a quick-read version, and a graphic biography of Darwin will be given away at a series of events across the Devon. Twenty three library-based reading groups will be reading the book and discussing it.

Devon County Council's Reader Development officer Carol Ackroyd says: "The book traces Professor Challenger's quest to find a hidden land in South America where dinosaurs are still alive, accompanied by a small party made up of reporter Edward Malone, adventurer Lord John Roxton and rival academic Professor Summerlee - all larger than life characters.

"It can be read as a straightforward adventure yarn, but it raises many issues for discussion, and not just the obvious ones of Darwinism. I know from feedback that many readers enjoyed the opportunity in 2006 to read, or re-read, an old classic - and we hope that this year they have as much fun reading, arguing, and sharing their views on the Lost World Read website."

The project is being pulled together by the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership. Melanie Kelly, Research Director for the Project, says: "Our experience of running Great Reading Adventures has shown that mass-reading projects are a great way to bring people together across different communities. As well as sharing the joy of reading, it's also a fantastic way of learning about the past and exploring issues of concern today, like the environment."

Staff from Devon libraries will be out and about handing out free copies of the book to encourage the public to join the adventure at locations including the Honiton Road Park and Ride, the mobile library stop at County Hall in Exeter and a drop-in coffee morning on Wednesday 4th February at Exeter Central library.

Books will also be given out on the Jurassic Coast bus as part of a proposal to work with Dorset and Poole Councils to create a Reader's Guide to the Jurassic Coast.

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