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Reading Sheffield

Reading Sheffield is crowdfunding

raised of £12,500 target by 62 supporters

Weʼre raising £12,500 to make Mary Grover’s ground-breaking book, 'Steel City Readers', free to download through an Open Access Licence.

11 days to go

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‘This is a truly important study...The value of the 65 in-depth interviews conducted by the Reading Sheffield team cannot be overstated...Their meanings will be much richer when they are framed by the histories of industry, culture and education in the city which Steel City Readers will provide.‘ (Alison Light, author of 'Common People', 2014)

Why are we raising money for this book?

'Steel City Readers' is based on a unique oral history project set up by the community history group, Reading Sheffield. It asked 65 people (you can see photos of two - Margaret Young above and Julia Banks below - on this page) in the northern English city of Sheffield about the books they read for pleasure between 1925 and 1955.

Their memories are at the heart of the book. Mary Grover writes about the compulsion to read when there seemed little to be gained from such an unprofitable pursuit, about the reading environment from home to school to library, about the push and pull of gender and class in reading choices.

What will this sum enable us to do?

The innovative Liverpool University Press (LUP) wants to publish the book this year. In keeping with our interviewees’ tributes to the benefits of free access to public libraries, LUP is offering us the chance to buy an Open Access Licence. This makes it possible for LUP to publish a book online, freely available for anyone to read. It compensates the publisher for the loss of print sales, and helps to pay for editing, proofreading and design.

Why is an Open Access Licence important?

LUP’s reviewer, Alison Light, praises Mary Grover for having done ‘a superb job organising and making sense of the interviews, illuminating the meaning of reading in individual lives as well as giving us insights into the local and national contexts’. She judges the book to be important and readable, and expects it to appeal to general readers, anyone interested in cultural and social heritage, people who manage and work in libraries, and literary scholars and oral historians.

This is a broad readership. The pleasure of reading and the necessity of free access to knowledge through books were central to the experience of so many of the Reading Sheffield interviewees. It is fitting that Steel City Readers should be published via this exciting route, allowing the book to be read online for free.

What will we do with the money we raise?

We will buy the Open Access Licence, at the cost of £10,000.

We will buy paperback copies of the book to give as a thank you to Reading Sheffield’s interviewees and their families.

We will tell as many groups and organisations as possible about the book, through a launch, social media, public talks, our website etc.

What else are we doing to raise the money? Everything else we can think of! An auction of art, book sales, sponsored ‘readathons’, tea parties and bake sales, public talks, seeking donations from charities, grant-making bodies and Sheffield businesses, and much more.

Keeping in touch

We will regularly update this page, our website (Reading Sheffield) and social media ( and @readsheffield).

If you’re interested in Reading Sheffield’s work, why not get in touch and join (subscription £10 a year)?

Thanks for reading this appeal and for your donations.

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  • Reading Sheffield 13 days ago
    Reading Sheffield

    Reading Sheffield

    13 days ago

    We are at 35% of our target, and JustGiving tells us we are doing very well, which is all due to our generous benefactors.

    Share this update to help us raise more

  • Reading Sheffield 24 days ago
    Reading Sheffield

    Reading Sheffield

    24 days ago

    And we have reached 33%! A third of the way to our goal. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated.

    Share this update to help us raise more

  • Reading Sheffield 1 month ago
    Reading Sheffield

    Reading Sheffield

    1 month ago

    Tues 19 July, and it is already very hot in Sheffield thanks to our heatwave in the UK. But we are 31% of the way towards our total of £12500 and are so grateful to our donors. Many thanks too to the Sheffield Star for publishing an article about Steel City Readers, with some wonderful images of people we interviewed for it. Here's a link so you can read it too: Thanks again.

    Share this update to help us raise more

4 months ago

Reading Sheffield started crowdfunding

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Page last updated on: 8/12/2022 17.22



  • Books For Good Causes.

    Books For Good Causes.

    Aug 12, 2022

    From your friends at Book For Good Causes for a great project. We are grateful for your support of us.


  • Anonymous


    Aug 9, 2022


  • Jill Ashton

    Jill Ashton

    Aug 9, 2022

    Good luck. A worthy cause.


  • Anonymous


    Aug 8, 2022


  • Anonymous


    Aug 7, 2022


  • Anonymous


    Aug 6, 2022

  • Anonymous


    Aug 5, 2022


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About the fundraiser
Reading Sheffield

Reading Sheffield


Our volunteer-led community history group, established about a decade ago, aims to foster greater knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the contribution of reading and public libraries to the lives of Sheffielders.

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