- A significant number of our employees worldwide, both through a Bloomsbury coordinator and privately, are involved in formal volunteer reading schemes and regularly attend schools in the UK and the USA. These provide supervised
reading support to young readers, often from disadvantaged backgrounds where their opportunities to develop reading skills may be hindered.
- Bloomsbury employees attend schools and colleges to give talks that have included on careers, such as in digital publishing and IT, and on reading skills required in the workplace. They have also assisted young people with interview practice, career mentoring and school magazines. They are unpaid public speakers at presentations, have published articles and hosted discussions on publishing topics and are volunteers for literary festivals
and societies for young publishers. Bloomsbury employees also support primary schools, e.g. giving classroom talks on writing.
- Many employees worldwide are involved in their local communities typically promoting literacy, literature and education, such as by sitting on committees, as governors of schools, by supporting special interest groups and
as trustees and supporters of publishing industry and arts voluntary organisations. For example, one UK employee volunteers for a local charity and attends the local primary school to help young children with their
reading. USA employees also support various organisations; one employee is a board member of the Children’s Book Council, and another is a mentor at a not-for-profit organisation connecting self-identified people
of colour who are interested in publishing and literature to publishing professionals. An employee in our Australia office has, for many years, been a volunteer at ILF, mentioned in the Corporate Donating section, donating
an hour each week at ILF’s head office to support ILF outreach initiatives and fundraising activities.
- The main Board Directors commit significant spare time outside of work to book-related charities, not-for-profit organisations and higher education.
Bloomsbury employees worldwide often call on their colleagues for fundraising sponsorship such as with marathons, cake sales and many other employee-inspired activities. For example, an employee in the UK office ran the Brighton
Marathon for Breast Cancer Care with a large proportion of the funds raised donated by Bloomsbury employees. A team also collected over 5,000 stamps for Macmillan Cancer Support as part of their stamp appeal.
Bloomsbury also held a Christmas Crafternoon for Mind, the mental health charity. Our US office participates in food, coat and feminine hygiene product drives, and donates these to the homeless and vulnerable communities
in New York City; and groups of employees arrange visits to charity centres at Christmas to sing carols.
Literary events for the community
Bloomsbury’s public events series, The Bloomsbury Institute, produced 19 literary events during the year and welcomed over 1,000 writers, editors and publishers into Bloomsbury’s London offices for its talks,
workshops and panel events with Bloomsbury authors. In 2019, it hosted collaborative events in partnership with London Horror Festival, BookMachine, the Publishing Training Centre and the London Library. The Bloomsbury Institute
events are open to the public on a ticketed basis, and are free for Bloomsbury staff to attend.
Our response to the coronavirus pandemic
Bloomsbury has undertaken a number of initiatives to help support and inspire the community during the crisis:
- Recognising that many people will be combining working from home and looking after children, we made our Bloomsbury Education online product Bloomsbury Early Years free to all. Whilst the activities are aimed at children
aged up to five years old and tied into the curriculum in England for that age group (the “EYFS”), there is plenty of inspiration for children who are a bit older too.
- We have given free online access to textbooks to support school and university students and instructors with remote learning, both through partnerships with Kortext, Vitalsource, BibliU, Redshelf and Classoos, and
direct to customer. This also includes additional online resources and activities for home learning, including videos, lesson plans and teaching tools.
- The National Theatre Collection on Bloomsbury’s online resource Drama Online was made available for free to pupils and teachers at UK state schools and state-funded further education colleges via remote access from
home. Over 2,600 state schools and colleges signed up to the National Theatre Collection in the first two weeks of this offer going live to access these resources at home. Bloomsbury also extended the free
trial period for academic institutions including universities, libraries and independent schools until the end of May 2020 to continue to support the educational community across the globe.
- In response to the nearly immediate migration to online classes, Bloomsbury Digital Resources created an expanded access nitiative to present Bloomsbury as part of a solution to the educational issues created by
this unprecedented crisis. This initiative allows libraries to gain free access to all of our online resources so their faculty, staff, and students can take advantage of our rich trove of scholarly databases, ebooks,
and historical archives during this time of rapid transition to digital learning, research, and teaching. In addition to extending gratis access, we have conducted outreach via email, social media, and other channels
to our author base, library contacts, faculty, and many more to ensure that those with new access have the information they need bbout the features and tools to make best use of our resources. The response
has been significant. Since 1 March 2020, Bloomsbury Digital Resources has set up 4,317 trials for 947 unique institutions. We will continue to build out our digital learning strategy as we focus on providing
more solutions for a rapidly shifting academic landscape.
- In April 2020, Katherine Rundell launched The Book of Hopes: Words and Pictures to Comfort, Inspire and Encourage Children in Lockdown with the support of Bloomsbury’s editorial and publicity teams. Curated by Katherine, this extraordinary
collection has contributions from over 110 children’s writers and illustrators – “professional hunters of hope” – including Lauren Child, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Sophie Dahl, Emily Gravett, Anthony Horowitz,
Greg James and Chris Smith, Catherine Johnson, Michael Morpurgo, Patrick Ness, Axel Scheffler, Danny Wallace, Jacqueline Wilson and of course, Katherine Rundell herself. Dedicated to “the doctors, nurses, carers, porters, cleaners
and everyone currently working in hospitals“, The Book of Hopes is available to read for free in full on the NLT website. We intend to publish The Book of Hopes, a gift book based on the project, this autumn in support of NHS Charities Together.