Why we need libraries

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“Reading is sometimes thought of as a form of escapism, and it’s a common turn of phrase to speak of getting lost in a book. But a book can also be where one finds oneself; and when a reader is grasped and held by a book, reading does not feel like an escape from life so much as it feels like an urgent, crucial dimension of life itself.”  – Rebecca Mead (My Life in Middlemarch)

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“Books, for me, are a home. Books don’t make a home — they are one, in the sense that just as you do with a door, you open a book, and you go inside. Inside there is a different kind of time and space. There is warmth there too — a hearth. I sit down with a book and I am warm.”  – Jeanette Winterson (Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?)

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The book sculptures above are by Jodi Harvey-BrownJustin Rowe, Susan Hoerth, and Su Blackwell. Visit their websites to see more of their work. (The sculptures are made from recycled, damaged books — no readable books were harmed in the process!)

Why we need libraries

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“The child of two academics, I was taught that books should be safeguarded and that wasn’t just some sentimental impulse. As the child of two working class people who’d expanded their employment options through education, I was shown books opened like doors into almost unlimited opportunities. And when my mother took me to our local library – Blackness Library, Dundee, it is still there – I found it a high-ceilinged, soft-scented temple of good things yet to happen. Pensioners there reading the papers, enjoying the warmth and presence of company, adults at desks studying, changing their minds almost visibly and children picking out what were still novelties – stories we’d never met. My first ever means of personal identification was my proof of library membership. I was a citizen of the world because I was a reader.”

– Scottish author A.L. Kennedy, in “What Happens When Libraries Fall Silent”

Read the full piece here.

Thank you, Chagford!

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unnamedMany thanks to everyone who participated in the playreading at Hollow Meadow this past weekend, in support of Chagford Library!

And to the people who came hear it, and the people who helped out, and most of all to Joanna Ford for organising and hosting this magical event.

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.”
― William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Secrets of the stacks

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Gladstone Library in Wales Phyllis Rose looks at how libraries weed out old books in “Secrets of the Stacks,” published online in Medium Magazine. It’s an excerpt from her terrific new book, The Shelf: Adventures in Extreme Reading.

She writes: “Boosted by reviews, prizes, large sales, word of mouth, or personal recommendations, a novel may make its way onto the library shelf, but even then it is not guaranteed a chance of being read by future generations. Libraries are constantly getting rid of books they have acquired. They have to, or they would run out of space. The polite word for this is ‘deaccession,’ the usual word, ‘weeding.’ … Weeding, even in the garden, has become a remarkably controversial subject.”

You can read the full article here.

The photograph here is of the magnificent Gladstone’s Library in Wales.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Update

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The next rehearsals for the playreading of A Midsummer Night’s Dream are at Hollow Meadow on these dates:

Wednesday, July 30th, 6 pm,
Thursday, July 31st, 6 pm
Sunday, August 3, 7:30 pm

The playreading is organised and hosted by Joanna Ford, who writes: “We would welcome more cast members. Refreshments are provided.”

Contact Joanna at Joannaford@mail.com.

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

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A wee bit of dormouse dancing, in one of the rare moments that the dormouse wasn’t surrounded by small children at the Mad Hatter’s Tea. The musicians are Becky Doe and Howard Gayton, who provided wonderful music throughout the event. The video is courtesy of Suzi Crockford.