As a 16-year-old Saturday assistant with Gloucester City Libraries tried to look up Biggles Flies Undone for a group of teenage lads. After graduation worked for 24 years in Birmingham Libraries. Was awarded the OBE for Services to Children’s Libraries in 2001.
Since 2001 works for Derbyshire County Council Libraries & Heritage Division as Service Manager, Young People & Policy Development. Has strategic responsibility for public library services for children and young people, the School Library Service, seven Sure Start and the Books for Babies programmes
Involved in developing innovative services e.g. the Book Pushers, the Young People’s Reading Debate and the Big Book Bash in Derbyshire plus Centre for the Child and Stories from the Web, in Birmingham. Was accused of peddling soft porn by a head teacher because Clare Rayner’s The Body Book was stocked.
‘Richard Peck’s poem Why I Read, says “Every journey begins at the library”. I wholeheartedly agree and am passionate about how books and libraries can be tools to empower. Librarians are crucial in ensuring that children and young people are equipped for the journeys they face.’
Dodds doesn’t know why he ended up a librarian. After a science degree and time kicking his heels around Europe, he trained at the University of North London, although nothing prepared him for his first job as Children’s Librarian on a large housing estate in South London.
Dodds is currently responsible for managing library services to children and learners in leafy Bromley. He has a reputation for developing innovative services and for getting the cash to make them work. Best known for his work with pre-school children, he’s currently working on Connect, an exciting new initiative for teenagers.
Some members of Bromley’s library staff are still dumbstruck by Dodds’ decision to ban craft activities from children’s libraries this summer. His insistence that toffee-apple making and hair-braiding must go because they’ve got nothing to do with books or reading hasn’t been popular in some quarters.
‘What I enjoy about being a children’s librarian is the creativity. Although I spend more and more time writing reports or in meetings, I still get to think up new, often off-the-wall, ideas to engage young readers; last week I spent two days dressed as the Very Hungry Caterpillar.’
Has been a children’s librarian for so long knew some of the founding generation of British children’s librarians (by reputation anyway). Began as a long haired, bearded angry young librarian; has matured into balding, jacket and tie, Mr Chips.
Avoiding hurricanes, only worked in public library authorities beginning with H, until local government reorganisation left him in Southampton rather than Hampshire. In compliance with Zen principles has risen to be head of children’s services by staying exactly where he was.
In 1976 used the title Ms for the first time to refer to female librarians (is that short for manuscript, young man?). Inaugurated children’s holiday mobile library in Herefordshire. Welcomes opportunities to develop services for children outside library walls in partnerships like Bookstart and Sure Start.
‘At its best, our experience of books both affirms our individuality and connects us to the world. What we children’s librarians strive for, as the great library guru Ranganathan almost said, is to enable every child (and carer) to find the books that give them that experience.’