Not quite a fortnight ago I got up far too early to go to Taunton and run two Fun Palaces workshops, came home the same night. It was a long day, with amazing libraries people who genuinely want to make a difference in, with and for their communities.
I didn’t think – with two weeks to go – that any of them would decide to make a Fun Palace this year, but we figured it was worth my time because of the interest and the enthusiasm and maybe they’d get interested for next year. (And anyway, am writer, #lovelibraries.)
(The worth my time thing is because we’re all part-time in our tiny team running Fun Palaces, so our FP days are really precious and often booked up long in advance.)
And what’s so cool about it is that they’re not just using Fun Palaces weekend to rebrand something they’re already doing, they’re not labelling any old activity a “Fun Palace”, they’re actually doing the outreach, the welcoming-in, the EXTRA work it takes (and doing it really fast!), and one of the reasons it’s possible for them to do it, is because they were already looking at how to work better with their local community, ALL of their community. They were already thinking like this, working like this. We’ve just given them a reason to play more with what they already do.
Already brilliant people, being some extra brilliant.
ps – I suggested, at this workshop, that a good start with not much time or resources might be to make a “small scrappy Fun Palace” – ie, it might not be very shiny or neatly organised, it might not last a whole day or the whole weekend, it might only have a few things to do, but if it was for all ages, and was made with the local community, if the community are part of it (not an audience for it!) then it’s a Fun Palace and that is a great start.