Holidaymakers urged to take the Bard with them

Oxfordshire’s libraries are urging visitors to enjoy ‘A Midsummer Night’s Read’ as they launch a seasonal reading challenge for adults.

A wide range of books based on the themes explored in William Shakespeare’s dramas are being promoted as the ideal reading material over the summer months, and visitors are encouraged to get involved by attending a special event next Saturday (July 9) at Weston library, part of the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries.

Staff will be on hand from 10am and 4pm encouraging visitors to take part, exchange ideas and find out what’s on offer this summer in local libraries across the county.

The reading challenge is part of the Shakespeare’s Dead or Alive initiative and wider Shakespeare Oxford 2016 - a year-long festival turning the spotlight on a rich array of Shakespearean expertise and creative innovation.

Major themes

Each of the county council’s 43 libraries will run its own summer display of books covering the Bard’s three major themes - comedies, histories and tragedies - with plenty of absorbing reading suggestions.

Book lovers are invited to suggest their favourite Bard-inspired novel and write their own book reviews on specially designed postcards. The postcards can also be entered in a prize draw supported by local organisations including Blenheim Palace, The Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Cogges Manor Farm Museum and Waterperry Gardens.

The council's Cabinet Member for Cultural Services Lorraine Lindsay-Gale said: “This is a great way to discover some fantastic books over the summer months and I’d encourage everyone to visit their local library to find out more. Whether your holiday is set to be a laugh a minute, a total disaster, or is already history, borrow a book and settle down in the sun in the company of some of the world’s greatest storytellers.”


A Midsummer Night’s Read Launch Saturday, 9 July, 10am – 4pm, Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BG

Further information

  • Shakespeare’s Dead or Alive is supported by Arts Council England and is part of Shakespeare Oxford 2016, a year-long festival which aims to light up the city in new and unusual ways, turning the spotlight on a rich array of Shakespearean expertise and creative innovation. A key ingredient is collaboration, with new partnerships, new ideas and new events, inspired by Shakespeare.
  • The festival team includes the Bodleian Libraries, Oxfordshire County Council Library Service, the University of Oxford English Faculty, Blackwell’s Booksellers, Oxford University Press and Experience Oxfordshire. Many of Oxford’s cultural organisations are contributing to the programme, and our local authorities are also involved in welcoming all the community into this city-wide celebration. www.shakespeareoxford2016.co.uk