Read up on ‘hot picks’

Artist Richard Chatterton
Artist Richard Chatterton
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THIS is Sheffield’s newest – and smallest – public library.

There are only 100 books and you can’t take them out the building.

But you will be able to find Jarvis Cocker’s personal recommendation here. Or perhaps a work by Lesley Garrett.

For in this little reading room - think a bookshelf and some funky vintage furniture - is collected the favourite books of 100 of the city’s most influential celebrities, business people, artists, writers, designers and thinkers.

It is, founders say, a literary capsule of what makes Sheffield tick right now, with everyone from writer Emma Cocker to designer Jonny Douglas donating.

“We’re really excited to be getting this up and running,” says Laura Sillars, director of Site Gallery, in Brown Street, where the room will be located within the on-site cafe. “We’re hoping people might come in, perhaps see what someone they like or admire has recommended and then go and discover that book for themselves.

“But more than that, it’s also about capturing a moment of what people in Sheffield in 2011 have been influenced and inspired by.”

Our two universities, Sheffield City Council, Third Angel theatre company, Warp Records and Museums Sheffield are all represented, while among the books are classics like Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos, biographies such as The Life Of Richard Burton by Melvyn Bragg and the plain bizarre – a Berlin guide.

“We had no stipulations on what people could donate,” says Laura. “It just had to be something they would like other people to read and which inspired them in some way.”

Laura has chosen Nowtopia by Chris Carlsson.

It’s about how people can empower themselves through everyday actions.

“I thought about going for a novel but this book is so powerful I think it’s something everyone should read,” says Laura. “And I suppose in a way it’s that kind of individual empowerment behind a lot of what Site Gallery does and stands for.”

An oversight - ahem - meant your Diarist wasn’t invited to donate a book, but then The Beano annual, circa 1990, might have been slightly out of place anyway.

Oh, and Jarvis’s recommended read? It’s Leonard Cohen’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel The Favourite Game, while Lesley Garrett’s book Notes From A Small Soprano has been donated by John Palmer of Sheffield Hallam University.

The reading room opens today.