A library triumph

I’m in a decidedly good mood today.

Yesterday I was on another of our council’s adoption workshops. This time the topic was attachment, and there was a good mix of experienced adopters and those of us still pre-placement. The course was run by the post-adoption support team, who seemed to be rather better (more realistic, less fluffy and vague) than the pre-adoption trainer we’ve had for all the other workshops so far. I came away with a handful of leaflets and a very amusing booklet of strategies for dealing with various attachment-related behaviours.

I am always interested to read as widely as possible on subjects I’m passionate about, and adoption is no exception. There were 20 book reviews in our approval panel portfolio, and our social worker said we were the best-read couple she’d come across. (Excellent!) But to buy all the books on each workshop’s recommended reading list would cost a fortune, and some might just not be right for us. So every time I try to get hold of the books I’m interested in through our county library service, by putting the details into the online catalogue search. Most of the time the reply is ‘No results found’. This is bonkers, so last night I decided to do something constructive with my frustration. I wrote an email to the powers that be.

Dear [Head of Children’s Services] and [Head of Libraries]

We have recently been approved as prospective adoptive parents, and are seeking to prepare ourselves for the challenges of adoptive parenthood by reading as widely as possible. We have attended several workshops run by the Children’s Services department and sought to follow these up by doing all the recommended reading.

As several of the books cost around £20 each, we cannot reasonably purchase them all ourselves and do not need to own them, just to read them. It has come to our attention that very few of the books recommended by Children’s Services are available in the [county] library catalogue. Some we have managed to obtain through out-of-county inter-library loan, but we would like to see them available to adopters and prospective adopters within the county library system.

We’re therefore writing to ask if your respective departments could collaborate to draw up a list of, say, the 20 most important books for adoptive families to read, and to ensure these are available in [county]’s libraries, please. It would be a huge benefit to many families across the county.

Thank you for your time. We look forward to your response.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be. I know councils are under financial pressure and I wouldn’t have been surprised to be fobbed off. So I was quite delighted to receive a reply within a few hours from the head of Children’s Services:

Thank you for your note. That’s such a good idea I wonder if it’s  not already been thought of in another form. We will definitely look into it and get back to you.

And this morning, from Mr Libraries:

Thank you for the e-mail. I agree that [county] libraries should have a dedicated book list for adoptive parents and I will ask our stock manager to set this up. Once this is in place we will produce a booklist to go out to all prospective adoptive parents.

A small victory, but an important one. Enough to put a smile on my face today.

If you were drawing up your top 20 books for adopters, what might you include? I’d love to see your recommendations – please leave a comment below. Thanks!

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