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Librarians’ Seminar in Créteil 21-24 November 2018

March 12 2019

A Seminar for librarians from several of Créteil’s Twinning partners was held in the Médiathèque in Créteil from 21-24 November 2018. Library Services was represented by veteran librarian Gray Allan. Gray wrote the following short report on the event and his experiences during the visit. I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit France and Creteil for the first time in November as part of the professional exchange organised by Creteil Libraries and the Creteil Twinning Committee. As a recently retired librarian with Falkirk Community Trust I was deputising for my working colleagues who were all involved with Scottish Book Week at this time. Taking part in the event were Falkirk, Creteil (GPSEA) Salzgitter (Niedersachsen) & Mataro (Catalonia). Salzgitter was represented by Claudia Rietdorf, head of service and her depute Yvonne Willert. The librarians from Mataro were Laura Villaret, head of service and her depute Sylvia Barragan. The exchange which took place over 4 days was intensive with visits to libraries in Creteil, the Mediatheque L’Abbaye – Nelson Mandela, Mediatheque Alfortville, the Bibliobus or mobile library in Creteil, a games library, the Ludotheque, also in a housing development in Creteil and the village library in the old part of the town. On the Friday afternoon we had a guided visit to the BNF, the Bibliotheque National de France, in Paris. The participants also took part in a master class run by Antoine Guilloppe a well-known artist and author of children's books, one of which was presented to each of the twinned library organisations. Each of the libraries had selected 13 books in English, German or Spanish for presentation to Creteil Libraries who in exchange gave each of us a small collection of French novels to take back with us. We all introduced one of the books from our selection on the “Book Tube”, an online information service streamed to libraries in the Creteil library network (subtitled in French!) I and my colleagues from Salzgitter and Mataro gave a presentation on our respective libraries to our French colleagues on the Friday morning. The Saturday saw the first literature festival “Bruit des Mots” staged by Creteil Libraries and held in the Mediatheque de L’Abbaye, an impressively organised and well-attended event It was not all work of course! Our hosts from Creteil Libraries and the Twinning Committee treated us royally, exposing us to the variety of French cuisine including a lovely meal in a Montmartre bistro! Not to forget the three trips into Paris!; a flying trip to see Paris at night by car, sightseeing after the BNF visit and a personal escorted tour with Margo on the Sunday before flying home. Many thanks to my hosts from the Mediatheque, Elena Da Rui, Frederique Giacomini and Frederique Bazinet, and representatives from the Twinning Committee, Director Romain Guimber. President Anne Berruet, Noemie, Brigitte Anne and Margo.