Mystery, History and Romance, writes Joan Morgan, noted local author, of this beloved institution . . .
. . . and everything else from Science Fiction to the life of Barack Obama; it’s all there in our small but perfectly formed library: Well, not strictly true – but luckily, the very obliging librarian Tim can order any book from any of the other libraries in Northumberland and within days or weeks, depending on the waiting lists, the book will appear. This fits in nicely with my new project, which is to work through the ‘top 100 books to read before you die’. I might manage to live that long.
Over the last 30 years, most weeks would see me returning both read and rejected books, replacing them with armfuls of anything that looks promising. That’s the beauty of the library; you can experiment with different genres, and you don’t feel compelled to waste your life reading a disappointing book right to the very end just because you’ve bought it.
The children’s section is well used after school and is particularly useful on a rainy day in the holidays, giving an hour or so of entertainment for the darlings as they choose ‘the’ book to take away with them. I recall the enjoyment I used to get from picking a book as a child, and the anticipation of adventure between the covers: Once experienced, never forgotten!
In the last century, the listed building used to be a chapel, and some of the older residents of Allendale can remember when dances were held there. Commemorative plaques on the wall celebrate the lives of past chapel stalwarts. The windows, door and ceiling are original and the balcony, now unused, faces, on the opposite wall, the WI Millennial tapestry depicting the ‘Tar Barls’ at New Year.
The library also serves as an information centre for Allendale and the surrounding area. Talks and events take place here regularly, and the computers and printer are available for anyone to use. What an asset! Unfortunately, the library is open only on two days now, Tuesday (10am to 5pm), and Thursday afternoon from 12:30 to 6:00, so we must use it or lose it. Our library – free for all, and literally priceless!