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Reading Sheffield raised £11,000 from 98 supporters


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Closed 16/02/2023

raised of £12,500 target by 98 supporters

    Weʼve raised £11,000 to make Mary Grover’s ground-breaking book, 'Steel City Readers', free to download through an Open Access Licence.

    Funded on Thursday, 16th February 2023

    Don't have time to donate right now?


    ‘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, as well as the cover design for the book) 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 make 'Steel City Readers' freely available for anyone, anywhere, to download from the internet to read. This is known as an Open Access Licence. To make it possible, we must raise £10,000 to help LUP pay for editing, proofreading and design and to compensate them for the loss of print sales. LUP will also print paperback copies of the book.

    Why is 'Steel City Readers' 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 invest £10,000 to make the Open Access Licence possible.

    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.



    • Reading Sheffield 1 year ago
      Reading Sheffield

      Reading Sheffield

      1 year ago

      Our last message on Just Giving. Make a note that Steel City Readers will be published on 1 June 2023. Paperback copies can be ordered from good bookshops and the FREE download will be available via Liverpool University Press ( Stay in touch with us via @readsheffield or our Reading Sheffield Facebook page. Goodbye and thank you.

      Update from the Page owner

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    • Reading Sheffield 1 year ago
      Reading Sheffield

      Reading Sheffield

      1 year ago

      Great news! We have reached our target of £12,500 to publish Mary Grover’s book, Steel City Readers. This means the book will be free to download from the internet. We are grateful to everyone who donated, whether a few pounds or a bigger sum, whether via Just Giving or in another way. Your generosity amazes us. We are now closing this page for donations.

      Share this update to help us raise more

    • Reading Sheffield 1 year ago
      Reading Sheffield

      Reading Sheffield

      1 year ago

      Hello, everyone. This appeal is going so well and we are grateful to everyone who has donated. Steel city Readers will, we now know, be published by Liverpool University Press on 1 June. You will be able to download it as a free e-book or order it in paperback format from the LUP website (see below). We expect that Sheffield bookshops will order in copies and that Sheffield Libraries will have loan copies on their shelves. LUP:

      Share this update to help us raise more

    2 years ago

    Reading Sheffield started crowdfunding

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    Page last updated on: 2/14/2023 00.00



    • I like round numbers

      I like round numbers

      Feb 14, 2023


    • Loveday


      Feb 10, 2023

      What a fabulous project this has been!


    • Tom Stafford

      Tom Stafford

      Feb 1, 2023

    • Mary Grover

      Mary Grover

      Jan 19, 2023

      Thank you to Crookes Friday Afternoon club for this donation following my talk to this group today. Thank you for your welcome and all your reading memories.


    • Donation on behalf of Doreen Ayre

      Donation on behalf of Doreen Ayre

      Jan 12, 2023


    • Jan Beautyman

      Jan Beautyman

      Jan 9, 2023

      Hope you reach your target

    • Gripple Ltd

      Gripple Ltd

      Dec 31, 2022

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    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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