Sunday, November 01, 2015

Gifts for readers and writers. A blow becomes an opportunity.

When this Librarian was laid off, he used the opportunity to start the business he'd always wanted to run.

When Dan Metcalf learned he would be made redundant from his role in public libraries, he used the opportunity to plough all his time into creating Word Nerd Games, a product development company with a literary bias. His first product, a playing card deck that celebrates the library promotion campaigns of yesteryear, is now live on Kickstarter until the 13th November. (

Dan, from Crediton in Devon (UK), trained as a librarian and spent over ten years working in libraries around the south west of the country. When Coalition Government cuts forced a reorganisation at his council, he knew he might not make it through the new round of interviews. “The cuts were brutal,” says Dan, 35. “I had been threatened with redundancy three times before and had clung on to my job, but I knew that this time I might not stay.” He received his redundancy letter on Christmas Eve, 2014.

“I knew then that I had to make the leap away from libraries and set up on my own,” says Dan. “I enrolled with the local Business Support Service, got advice from my local government and began to devour all the books and podcasts I could find to start to build my business.”

“I knew what I wanted to do. I had always sketched and designed little games and puzzles and I wanted to take this further. I had planned to use Word Nerd Games as a way to license toy and game ideas to companies, but when I had the idea for the Library Lover's Playing Cards, it seemed so personal that I wanted to try and do it myself.”

The card deck reproduces vintage images from the 1920s to 50s, which were used to promote libraries and reading. The Kickstarter will raise money for the first print run.

“It's funny, I think being made redundant was the best thing to happen to me. I love being my own boss and making money my own way. I just want to keep producing ideas time after time! I'm still fond of libraries, as the card deck shows. I use my local one regularly to work from and most of the business books I read come from there.”

“I was lucky, really,” says Dan. “Being laid off could be my ticket to riches!”

The Kickstarter for the Library Lover's Playing Cards is live until 13th November 2015 at

More info can be found at and


  1. Very enterprising. What a good idea. Just proves what can be done & redundancy doesn't have to be a disaster.

  2. Very enterprising. What a good idea. Just proves what can be done & redundancy doesn't have to be a disaster.

  3. Interesting post! Wishing Dan lots of success.

  4. If not a ticket to riches, most certainly a ticket to happiness. Good luck, Dan!

  5. Talk about turning a negative into a positive. Very inspirational and wish Dan every success.