#whatsyourstory – Meet Wayne

Our Leeds Libraries #whatsyourstory campaign had its big launch this week. This post tells you all about another of our inspirational Leeds Libraries ambassadors – Wayne Levitt.

WayneWayne had always been interested in his family history, but never had the computer skills to be able to access online archives, and didn’t realise how close the facilities for learning these skills are, right here in Leeds.

One day, Wayne, from Belle Isle, took a shortcut through his local cemetery on the walk back to his house. Here, he noticed the headstone of a lady who shared the surname ‘Levitt’. Inspired to find out more, Wayne enquired about the facilities available at Morley library, picking up information about basic computer tuition. From this, he found out about the Leeds Local and Family History library, based at Leeds Central Library. Wayne soon became a regular.

The first step on Wayne’s journey back through history was to find out about the lady on the tombstone. After tracing his family tree back two generations, he discovered that this was his great-grandmother.

Step-by-step, Wayne went further and further back through his family history – and made a ground-breaking discovery. He found that he was related to local war hero Arthur Louis Aaron, the only person in Leeds to win a Victoria Cross for his bravery in World War Two. Looking deeper into this story, Wayne uncovered that Arthur was shot in the jaw, chest and arm, but managed to keep himself alive long enough to fly his plane to safety. Despite his fatal injuries, Arthur made it back to England but died nine hours later.

Wayne has currently traced his family tree back as far as 1803, to his great-great-great-great grandfather and wife, David and Anna Levitt. In the past month, Wayne has found a family of Levitt’s in Brierley that fit with his existing links, as well as some warm connections in the Hull and Goole area, where he assumes that the family followed the river up to Selby where later generations lived.

Now you’ve met our first two Leeds Libraries ambassadors, could you be the next? If one of the many services available at Leeds Libraries has helped you, we want to know. Tweet us or write on our Facebook page using the hashtag #whatsyourstory, or email us at whatsyourstory@leeds.gov.uk, and let us know how we’ve helped you.

Keep an eye out for Wayne and Ma in your local area, as you’ll be seeing their faces popping up around the city soon…

#whatsyourstory – Meet Ma

We’re very excited to announce that our #whatsyourstory campaign has officially launched! Designed to make our Leeds community aware of all the different services available at your local library, today, we’d like to share with you the story of one extremely inspirational Leeds resident.

Ma MaposaMa Maposa’s story is all about having the strength and courage to follow your dreams – you never know how far they might take you.

Ma had a tough childhood. Growing up with limited prospects, he always dreamed of something bigger. After a particularly bad day, Ma walked into the town centre to get some much-needed space. He found himself walking past Leeds Central Library, where Jamie from Studio12 was handing out flyers. Attracted to Studio12’s free music production studio, Ma began to visit. He finally had a place to be himself, and do what he loved.

Ma went from strength-to-strength, and soon found himself taking part in ‘Writing Britain’ alongside Studio12, a national project led by the British Library. You can see the short film that Ma created for Writing Britain here – which led to his work being shown on BBC3.

With a clear stepping stone formed – and a strong support network behind him in the form of Leeds Libraries and Studio12 – Ma set up his own YouTube channel, BigOnRoadTV, that promotes the talents of local up-and-coming music stars. As this grew, so did his passion for music, and he developed BigOnRoad to form his own record label under the same name.

Ma then partnered with Leeds University to run a competition called Undiscovered: Leeds, with the same aim of empowering young, talented people to get into music, with the winner receiving a record deal with BigOnRoad.

By this point, Ma had created a growing business empire. Expanding on his natural entrepreneurial flare – he had an idea for a smartphone app. Ma created Cardnet, a virtual business card sharing app, that allows you to carry and share your business cards virtually. Cardnet is a huge success, and he’s recently sold this business on.

Currently in pre-production for a film that he’s written and produced himself, Ma teaches us that you can achieve goals that you never thought possible. With the right support network – and access to the facilities you need – you never know what’s around the corner.

Now you know Ma’s story, we’d love to know yours. If Leeds Libraries has changed your life for the better, tweet us or write on our Facebook page using the hashtag #whatsyourstory, or email us at whatsyourstory@leeds.gov.uk – and it might be your story that we’re telling next.

The fiction hotlist 6 August

The fiction hotlist is our weekly list  of all brand new fiction  and also includes titles bought for reserves, which means extra exciting gems to discover.

Browse the complete list and reserve any book via the catalogue

Blockbusters of the week are  –

A song for the dying by Stuart MacBride. Great crime novel

 The one plus one by JoJoMoyes. Popular chicklit

The city by Dean Koontz – about a musical prodigy

The Valhalla prophecy by Andy McDermott. International best selling thriller

 Recommended – Karen Robards – The Last Kiss Goodbye and Ellie Robards The Outcast Dead, they already have 5 star ratings.

Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe by Romain Puertolas coverInterested to have a go at the fascinatingly titled –  The extraordinary journey of the fakir who got trapped in an Ikea wardrobe by Puertolas, Romain.