A VISIT to the local library generally consists of flicking through a few books, researching some old papers or simply browsing the internet.
That stuffy image is about to be shattered, however, with residents at one local library being asked to try their hand at a spot of pole dancing while deciding on the latest bestseller to read.
The idea is aimed at encouraging people to visit their local library as part of “Love your Library Day” on Saturday February 2.
Pole dance instructor Nikki Clark will offer a free, 90-minute pole fitness session on the day at Mayfield Library and is encouraging anyone over 16 who is keen to get fit and have some fun to take part.
The mother-of-two, who lives in Easthouses, has been running a weekly pole fitness class at Newtongrange Leisure Centre for almost two years, which has proved so popular that she is set to add an extra lesson on a Saturday morning.
Nikki, 33, said: “A few of the girls who come to the class will come along to the library and show their moves to let people know that pole dancing is not for any specific shape or size, or age group.
“Hopefully people will see what’s involved and maybe like it. It beats the gym!
“I go to the library quite a lot and the library manager asked me about a month ago if I would be interested in doing a pole dancing lesson there – I thought it was quite funny to start with and I wondered how they were going to put it into the Love your Library Day.
“But they just want to promote the library so it’s not just for reading books – they already do small music classes for kids and arts and crafts.”
Midlothian Council said the lesson would be a one-off to capture imaginations and encourage residents to use their local libraries and borrow books.
Nikki, an office manager for building refurbishment company Capital Scotland Ltd in Edinburgh, said: “The library is a fantastic place – there’s not many places now where kids can go that is free and get books and use the computer. Anything we can do to support that can only be a good thing.”
Nikki, who has been pole dancing for five years, will take one pole along to the library to demonstrate moves and allow residents to have a go. And from beginners right up to the more experienced pole dancer, she said there is “a move for everyone”.
“Pole dancing improves your strength dramatically and helps with toning and body conditioning,” she said.
“You wouldn’t walk into a weight room and lift your own body weight; you would build it up. But you’re lifting your whole weight from start to finish with pole dancing. Your core gets a great workout, it increases your flexibility and confidence.”
A range of free events and activities to celebrate Love your Library Day will be on offer across all nine Midlothian libraries, including “booky” table tennis – where books are used instead of bats, Xbox challenge for youngsters and parents, head massages and Scottish country dancing.
There will also be the chance to delve into the world of crime, with authors Lin Anderson, Quintin Jardine and Stuart MacBride, as well as performances from local singers and musicians, and sessions on how to write the next big novel.
Councillor Bob Constable, Cabinet Member for Public Services and Leisure, said: “The pole fitness session is a fun and interesting way of encouraging more people into our libraries, trying out all the services on offer and ultimately borrowing more books.
“But it’s not just pole fitness on offer – I’m delighted to see such a wide range of free and exciting events organised to mark this special occasion.”
The write stuff
A TRIO of famous authors are set to deliver talks and workshops at libraries across the city.
Iain Banks, Kate Atkinson, pictured right, and Louise Welsh will take centre stage at Central Library as part of the popular Edinburgh Reads programme of author-led events.
The spring programme, which runs until May 2, will also see a host of key figures from the literary world deliver workshops and talks in libraries across Edinburgh. All events are free and tickets can be booked online or by calling 0131-242 8100.