arena

Shelf Service

It’s come to pass that this will be the final entry on the Darlington library page and I’d like to make my final piece all about the places a library will take a person.

I have worked here at the library for more than a decade and in this time have met some wonderful people and escaped on some fantastic adventures through my love of books. It has been amazing to meet lots of like minded customers and talk to each other about what exciting books we’ve read lately and I have been glad to be part of the library story (no pun intended!)

Throughout the years I have seen much change to the service, but one thing remains our library team is like a family. We help people from all walks of life in many different situations and in order for our work to continue it is so important to keep promoting the wonderful service through an ever changing new digital age. I will miss welcoming children into story club on a Saturday morning and the happiest look on a child’s face as they receive their very own shiny library card in their hand when they join. I’ll remember organizing sensory sessions for babies with lots of glitter, shaving foam and general chaos but seeing parents and babies make the most wonderful memories. I will always remember every word of the songs sung during rhyme time and miss seeing how big the children have grown when they come in to borrow books through the years.

I have always loved the fact that when you set foot in the library your horizons can expand, you can learn something new, find a new job, research a new hobby or discover a new author you’d never found before. The possibilities of a library are endless and I know going forward I will miss my unique job very much but sometimes one learns and expands and has to travel onwards onto new adventures in their own life just like in stories. The blog has helped me navigate through very different times, through a global pandemic and I have been proud to serve the public of Darlington during this unique period of history. I will as I move onto pastures new hope that Darlington continue showing their love of reading and support our lovely library who stands firm after all these years.

I attach a poem I submitted to Creative Darlington for a competition in pre-covid times. Every word still rings true and always will.

 

Our crown in crown street…

Upon some land where a mill once stood, where a local man left in his will the promise of a free library to its people, our majestic lady resides.

Her ornate stonework is envied, she dominates the street with her radiating presence, but emits a warmth and kindness in her shiny window eyes. She welcomes all inside. Since 1885 she has given her service to the people of Darlington, provided a place to work, to read, to create, to explore her shelves. How many people have been inspired by her, have found comfort, solitude, knowledge….

The weatherworn dovecot is gazed at by small children waiting for their mum to come out of the shop nearby, what secrets does she hide? What sights has she seen? What changes has she been part of?

Inside the depths, through dark corridors amidst shelves swept from dust, with pride, her faithful servants scurry to bring new generations stories of old, holding capture her town’s history with wonder and astonishment, so one day those who still visit her may see what joy she brought. Everyone who has been hypnotized by her beauty have left their mark here somehow, a painting, a novel, a poem, some Victorian cursive handwriting on yellowed paper, a bookmark found in pages. The unmistakable scent of history ( that only a library somehow conveys, old papers, a little musty but uncapturable anywhere else)

The pages of a book are happily discovered within these walls, the companionship of others, the enchantment of escaping from the outside to new intriguing lands and places. To finding new experiences and widening horizons, tell me who can put a price on this?

Our jewel in the crown she is. Our lady, our library.

Are you anticipating some new reads this year? Is there a particular author you know won’t disappoint, or do you take a lucky dip whenever you visit the library? Whatever your literary tastes we have something for you, remember if you see a book you like the look of online we can order you a copy or reserve if it's already in stock. Just call us on 01325 349610 and we will do our very best to help.

Project hail Mary by Andy Weir (4th May)

The Martian author’s third adventure in space follows Ryland Grace, the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission. Grace doesn’t remember his own name, his assignment or how to complete it, and he definitely doesn’t know that if he fails, humanity and the earth will perish. A gripping tale of survival. 

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead (4th May)

Great Circle is the story of two women: Marian Graves and Hadley Baxter. In 1950, Marian embarks on her life’s dream, to fly around the globe. But after a crash landing, she writes one last entry in her logbook. Half a century later, troubled Hollywood starlet Hadley Baxter is irresistibly drawn to pay Marian in a film, a role that will lead her to the deepest mysteries in the vanished pilot’s life.

China room by Sunjeev Sahota (6th May)

Sunjeev Sahota, who was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2015 with his novel The Year of the Runaways, tells a multigenerational story of love, trauma and the search for freedom in his new book. China Room follows Mehar, a young bride in rural India in 1929, trying to discover the identity of her husband while sequestered from contact with men in her family’s ‘china room’, and a young man in 1999 who travels from England to the now-deserted farm where Mehar lived.

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon (6th May)

Rivers Solomon’s extraordinary gothic tale of metamorphosis has already received praise from Marlon James, who called it “fantastical and frightening”. At the book’s centre is Vern, a Black woman with albinism who escapes a religious compound, and discovered that her body is changing and she developing extra-sensory powers. Alone in the woods and having given birth to twins, Vern must investigate the secluded compound she fled and the violent history of dehumanisation, medical experimentation, and genocide that produced it in order to understand why she is changing.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (27th May)

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s first novel Daisy Jones & The Six was a tale of the rise and fall of a singer and her band. In Malibu Rising Reid takes another look at fame, fortune and family. Siblings Nina, Jay, Hud and Kit are adored and the source of much fascination in Malibu and the world, thanks to their father, legendary singer Mick Riva. In 1983, Nina holds her annual end-of-summer party, but by morning the Riva mansion has gone up in flames. What happened at the party? And what secrets are the party’s hosts and guests hiding?
For fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid this new title looks like one not to be missed!

The Waiter by Ajay Chowdhury (27 May)

Ajay Chowdhury won the inaugural Harvill Secker and Bloody Scotland BAME crime competition with The Waiter. The novel follows disgraced detective Kamil Rahman, who moves from Kolkata to London to start afresh as a waiter in an Indian restaurant. But while catering a birthday birth for his boss’ rich friend, host Rakesh is found dead and suspension falls on his new wife, Neha. Kamil finds himself drawn back into his old life, as he investigates what happened to Rakesh, with the help of his boss’ daughter Anjoli. 

Assembly by Natasha Brown (3rd June)

Natasha Brown’s debut novel is set in the competitive world of investment banking, and follows an unnamed Black British woman trying to navigate friendship, love and work. "I was trying to capture the claustrophobia of the narrator’s world, and the hostility of it – how it felt for her to exist, and to succeed, as a Black woman working in the City,” said Brown of the novel.

The mismatch by Sara Jafari (24th June)

Soraya wants to belong, but at 21 still hasn’t been kissed. When she meets Magnus, the last person she expected to fall for, she confronts her past and is able to work out her next steps. At the same time, Soraya’s mother Neda, who left Iran in the wake of the revolution, is also striving to belong. A story of romantic love, The Mismatch is also the touching tale of a mother and daughter and the sacrifices family makes. 

Any of the above taken your fancy? Get in touch for some fabulous reads!

Calling all young adult fiction fans! If you can’t get into the library to see us why not download a book using the FREE Borrowbox app. Borrowbox is always open, is easy to use and books are FREE to download!

There is more information about Borrowbox on our website here: www2.darlington.gov.uk/web/arena/digital-reading

E-books are great for reading on the go, on your commute or on your way to school/college.

We have all of the latest books from your favourite authors, so what are you waiting for!

All you need is your phone or tablet and if you're not a library member you can join online to activate your account. 

www2.darlington.gov.uk/web/arena/join

Not sure which book to read first? Here are some of our favourites!


 
Yes, no, maybe so is a fun romantic offering from Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed.
The two authors have crafted a resonant, funny, and memorable story about the power of love and resistance.

YES
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.


NO
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is cancelled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.


MAYBE SO
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely. 

Wilder girls 

Described as an emotional and haunting read, Rory Power brings all the feels in this thought provoking book suitable for older teens.
Everyone loses something to the Tox; Hetty lost her eye, Reese's hand has changed, and Byatt just disappeared completely.

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put in quarantine. The Tox turned the students strange and savage, the teachers died off one by one. Cut off from the mainland, the girls don’t dare wander past the school’s fence where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure as the Tox takes; their bodies becoming sick and foreign, things bursting out of them, bits missing.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her best friend, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie in the wilderness past the fence. As she digs deeper, she learns disturbing truths about her school and what else is living on Raxter Island. And that the cure might not be a cure at all . . .



The deathless girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave is a new fantasy futuristic book all about two twins Lil and Kizzy who are captured by a cruel overlord and forced to work in the castle kitchens. When Lil meets Mira, a fellow slave she learns about the dragon, a mysterious and terrifying man of myth who takes girls as gifts. 

Where your worst fears are about to come true…

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re becoming a reality.

Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.

Who will make it off the island alive?
Described as a heart-popping fast-paced page-turner, this book is packed with tension, twists and turns and is perfect for YA thriller fans.


What have you been reading lately? Do keep in touch with us here at the library and let us know what you’ve been enjoying. 

At the moment we are all finding more time on our hands and more and more of us are trying something new or looking to keep busy over lockdown.

Books rule!

We have to start with a book related challenge of course, so how about organising a competition with friends and family and see who can read the most titles over lockdown? Reading is a great way of escaping to new worlds when you have to stay where you are and it also, improves your vocabulary and memory as well as helps fuel the imagination. Can you tick off 10 books, 20 or maybe even go for the 100?! See if you can inspire others to join in the competition. Book art is a great way to share your passion for reading with others and help spread the word of new titles you’ve enjoyed. For our junior readers why not set yourself the Harry Potter challenge to read/re-read all the books before Harry Potter book day on June 29th…..can you do it?

Get some scissors, glue and paper and use old magazines to design a funky collage, who can make the funniest picture in the family?

Nature walks-

Tick off all the new discoveries you make on your daily walks and perhaps collect some natural materials to make some nature art at home. Has anyone spotted the famous Mandarin ducks at Drinkfield marsh yet? Why not reserve a nature book and see what you can tick off?

Ice sculptures-

Make time for crafts made these stunning creations when the weather turned frosty…how beautiful! Create your own designs and don’t forget to pop some string in so you can hang them up in the garden.

Photography

There are a great range of photo books you can borrow if you’ve been taking photos recently over lockdown and want to brush up on your skills. With so many opportunities to see nature than ever before why not create some albums of exploring the great outdoors, we’d love to see them!

Lockdown art

Being creative can be a great outlet at the moment and painting sketching and crafts are all fantastic ways of keeping busy over lockdown. New to art? Don’t worry we have the book for that.

Exercise and health

Being stuck in for long periods of time can be really difficult but just remember that we are all in it together. If you can get outdoors for a walk every day it’s a great way to boost your mental health. If you can’t get outside try and allow time for sitting in an outdoor space or open the window to hear the sounds of nature to soothe and calm you. There are a lot of online resources you can use to embark on a new exercise regime but also we have great titles if you fancy trying yoga, pilates and wish to gently increase your fitness levels for the new year.

Keep calm and remember the library is here to help 😊

 

Photos courtesy of @manicmumdayscas & Stephen Gordon.

We have some exciting news to report! Our lovely Cockerton library is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary on the 2nd September and what better way to celebrate than opening for book returns and quick pick borrowing again. We know how much you’ve been missing popping in to say hello and are so pleased we can give you some positive news.

Here is a little bit of information all about the history of the building. We would love to hear all about your memories of the place so do share your stories with us.

Cockerton Library was designed by Borough Architect Mr E.A Tornbohm and his staff, and built by Walter Thompson (Contractors) Ltd.

It was designed in a saw tooth configuration around a circle 57 ft in diameter along with bookshelves on each wall panel and natural light from 18 floor to ceiling windows and not to mention underfloor heating,  phosphor-coated mercury vapour lamps and a flat roof with an octagonal cupola. The total cost was £15,500 including furniture but excluding book stock. The official opening took place on Wednesday 2 nd September 1970 and the library opened with a stock of around 10,000 books. In that year customers could borrow a book for 14 days. Fines were 3d per week and reservations cost 6d per book.

Like many other facilities it has been closed since March due to the government-imposed lockdown, but will reopen on its special anniversary hurrah!

 

 

Throughout the day – on Wednesday 2 September, 10am-4pm - visitors will also be able to view old photographs of the library on display boards to the exterior of the building and there will be balloon modelling outside between 2pm – 4pm for children using the library.

 

 

There will also be a musician performing interpretations of songs from the 1970s 10-10.30am, 12-12.30pm and 3.15-3.45pm.

The photo display will also be available on the Darlington Library website at www2.darlington.gov.uk/web/arena/cockerton so feel free to check this out if you can’t come along on the day.

From Thursday 3 September the branch’s temporary opening hours will be:

Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays - 9.30am - 1pm

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays - 1pm - 4pm

Library users can also access a wide range of eBooks and eAudio books via Darlington Library’s online services. To find out more and for details of online events/activities look at our events page here or download the Darlington Library App. You can also follow us on Facebook or on Twitter.

 

 

 

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