Culture vulture

4th June 2004 at 01:00
Life is a cabaret for Ruth Taylor- when she's not reading

Best book ever

The Rainbow by DH Lawrence, which I studied for A-level. I like the family connections in it, the way he develops relationships through the generations. For pupils, my best book is The Lost Boys' Appreciation Society by Alan Gibbons, about two teenage brothers and how they cope after their mother is killed on the way to collect them from school. It's popular with boys who never know which book to ask for.

Best film ever

Cabaret. I like the seedy atmosphere in the clubs, the songs, music, story, everything. I even enjoyed a stage production in Blackpool with Wayne Sleep and Toyah Wilcox during a musicians' strike, which had only a basic orchestra.

Best event

A recent visit to the Walker Art Gallery Liverpool. I met up with an old school friend and we spent a fabulous day seeing the Dante Gabriel Rossetti exhibition. I paint at adult education classes and I was captivated by the beauty of the women in his pictures ("Helen of Troy", 1863, pictured).

Also, last year's School Library Association conference at Leicester University with guest speakers Wendy Cooling, Aidan Chambers, Bali Rai and Linda Newbery. It gave me new enthusiasm for children's literature and faith in those who work so hard to promote the best of it. (This year's SLA conference is in Dublin, June 17-20. See:

Treat in store

A visit to the Library Theatre, Manchester, to hear the Great Women Poets tour including Carol Ann Duffy. I am spending four days in London in August with my sister on a history of London tour.

To share with pupils

I set up as many events as possible to draw children into the library. We get a lot of traveller children. We've had a Chinese banquet to celebrate Chinese New Year. We held our own Big Read and I'm setting up pupil reading groups. We try to get staff to share experiences with pupils about books.

Our cleaning lady came in to talk about her favourite book, The Count of Monte Cristo.

Ruth Taylor, 42, is a school library manager at St George's CE school, an 11-16 secondary in Blackpool. She was talking to Elaine Williams

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