Jan is married to freelance journalist Peter Bild.
Their three daughters are based in London. Laura is an arts and features journalist at the “Guardian.” Miranda is in Colombia teaching English and Jessica, a government press officer, is currently at home raising Arthur and Rosa.
Jan regularly goes back to the UK to visit family and friends and to keep in touch with literary developments.. As Senior Libraries and Communities Manager for London authorities, she established “outreach library services” – taking libraries to prisoners, hospital patients, school students, senior citizen homes and the home-bound. Jan’s passion is promoting the value of reading to everyone She now lives in Berlin where she organises and facilitates Reading Gr oups privately. The reading groups in Berlin, with a German and international membership, are a platform for lively discussions. Connecting cultures and fostering mutual understanding are at the heart of the groups. They are informal and fun but also serious .
These are some highlights of Jan’s work in London.
- UK Winner National “Communities Initiatives Award” 1993 – Escape with a Book – for Reading Development Projects in UK Prisons and Psychiatric Hospitals
- Coordinator and Initiator for first ever National-Lottery-funded creative writing and reading project – Write Around Lambeth – 1998-2001
- Initiator/Organiser of many Live Literature Events: Writers Love Libraries, How Far Can We Go Writing About Sex?, World Book Day and National Poetry Day events , Meet the Crimewriters etc
- Organiser of first Holocaust Memorial Day event (2001) for London. This multi-faith and cross-cultural event, directly involved representatives of many different religious and ethnic communities.
- Designed an original children’s book bus to take the joy of books out of traditional libraries into the streets of inner London. Local children’s artwork permanently enlivens the sides of the library vehicle. The book bus plays rap music composed and performed by Brixton children as it arrives on housing estates.
- Initiated a multicultural housebound library service aimed at disabled residents of Asian and Afro Caribbean origin.
- Supervised prisoners to work with her in the community as part of a prisoners’ rehabilitation programme.
- Member of a national large-print book panel. Co-ordinating with major UK book publishers, to select books for the partially sighted.
- Designed the first mobile library in the UK with wheelchair access and developed library services to old people’s homes.
- Organised “silver surfer” events: training in computing skills for pensioners.
- International vocational librarianship training – library students from Germany and Jamaica.
- Platform speaker on outreach librarianship at UK national conferences
- Organised management and professional training courses, at local and national level.