INTRIGUING GEMS IN RANDOM BOOKS (Letter in the Cornishman)
My friends and I borrowed some random books from St Just library on Friday 28th February, as part of the attempt to borrow as many books as possible in protest at the reduction in library opening hours. Usually I select books according to what I think I want, or my favourite authors or ones that have been recommended to me. This time, I chose books more or less at random, or at least on the basis of size and portability. But several of us found that in doing this we had borrowed really interesting books, which we read in fascination and then passed them on to other people. I spent all of Sunday reading mine. Here are some snippets of what I discovered.
Would you like to read a story about the golden death-mask of Atreus, the father of Menelaus, king of Mycenae? And how the curator of a museum in Atlanta, Georgia, tried to track it down, together with the bones of a legendary hero thought to exist only in myth, but discovered instead another deadly secret?
Or one about a lonely Mountie, about to do away with himself after the sad death of his wife, who instead got dragged into uncovering a terrorist plot?
Or even, a bit nearer home, a book about a woman living on a remote Hebridean island, who is trying to write a book of her own and look after two children at the same time, who made a gruesome discovery and was forced to question her whole way of life?
There is also a book in the Library about a mysterious secret society set up by Sir Walter Ralegh, Christopher Marlowe, the Earl of Northumberland and some other Elizabethan dignitaries to study alchemy and republicanism. There’s a very scary book about a monster, one of the nastiest creatures I’ve read about, which terrorises two children in an isolated house in East Anglia. A fascinating story about the vicar of St Hilary in the 1930s and the true but almost unbelievable things that happened in his church. Some memoirs of a Cornish childhood between the wars. And a tale about the witches who lived near Wookey Hole in Somerset,
A book that I was very intrigued by was about a boy who knew almost everything there was to know about a particular beach, and who one day found some strange things on it. He showed them to various experts and everyone became very excited about these finds; a local cult got hold of him and he was hailed as a sort of junior mystic and prophet. There was a lot about climate change and global ecology in this book, and it made me want to know a lot more about Rachel Carson, the boy’s heroine.
I could go on indefinitely about what’s you can find in your local library and how interesting it all is, but you might want to go and find out for yourself……
Friend of St Just Library
The above letter was sent to the Cornishman and the details of the books are as follows:
Hartley, A J The mask of Atreus
Mofina, Rick Six seconds
Moss, Sarah Night waking
Bayard, Louis The school of night
Barraclough, Lindsey Long Lankin
Walke, Bernard Twenty years at St Hilary
Smith, Emma Great Western Beach
Bowers, Phillipa The wise woman’s tale
Lynch, Jim The highest tide
Help protect St Just Library’s opening hours
St Just Library is a vital part of our local community, which is why I am so passionate about protecting it for future generations.
Cornwall Council has proposed to cut the library’s opening hours to one full day per week and to two half days. It intends to implement this change from June.
I am opposed to this plan. It was quite clear from the public meeting that I organised recently to let people have a say that many other local people are too.
Apart from St Just Library’s role as a lender of books, it offers our area so much more:
- For lots of local children it is a source of the books they need to help with their education.
- It enables people with no access to the internet to get online.
- Jobseekers get the opportunity to check the vacancies pages in the local newspapers.
- Many local groups use the library to meet, and they can only do so when the Library is open.
- It is a social hub for the community, where older people come into contact with younger generations.
- Library staff provide a service valued by the local community, helping in so many different ways.
St Just is not being singled out for cuts but being a ‘Band 3 library’, is in a group where a cut of 9 hours, from the current opening hours, is proposed.
I plan to point out though that there is unfairness between the resourcing of our rural Library and those in the larger towns. This is a 38% reduction of hours whereas Truro and Penzance only face a cut of 9.5%. St Just starts from a much lower number of hours anyway and I feel that its role as a Tourist Information Centre is being overlooked.
This is a result of budget cuts faced by County Hall and the historically unfair system used to allocate Government money to rural areas. Urban areas get much more money per head of population.
Local people get behind the St Just Library campaign.
Following the recent public meeting held to discuss the future of the library, two further campaign days have been held.
Friday 28th February was ‘Love St Just Library Friday’.
Local people showed their support by coming along to St Just Library and borrowing as many books as they could carry and leaving the library virtually bare, demonstrating just how much we value our library.
Saturday March 1st: Hands off St Just Library
Local residents joined hands around the library building to show their support for its services and just how much they love the library.
The local media are also covering the St Just Library campaign:
For more information on St Just Library click here