Darlington Library




Keep calm and carry on from Darlington libraries!

If you're reading this blog post today you may be at home, you might be working from home instead of your usual location, or homeschooling your children.

Whatever you're doing currently, all of our library staff hope you are well and with so much going on in the world right now we hope we can help you find some positives to focus on. 

We have chatted our colleagues and found that some of us are taking up new hobbies in our spare time to stay busy and keep any anxiety we have at bay. One colleague has started knitting and gardening, another can to be found at his allotment whenever he can.

Lots of us are reading whether it's for pleasure or escapism, or planning the jobs we haven't had chance to get done around the home, some of us have pets that we can take for walks/ cuddle to alleviate stress.

Many of you may be using your time to re-read children's classics that they remember fondly, or perhaps you've discovered a new author never read before

Our home delivery service has been extremely well received by the over 60 age group, we only wish we could deliver books to all of you!

We hope normal service will resume again soon and we can all reflect on this time and see it as a period where we could focus on new projects and find our inner strength to pull us through.
In the meantime why not take on a new interest, get yourself out for a daily walk in the sunshine (whilst practicing social distancing of course) or rediscover some of those books you have always been trying to get around to reading.

We are used to speaking to lots of our users every day (it's so quiet here in the building without you all!)

Our reading challenge is still ongoing and we'd love to hear from you as to how you're getting on with it. Have you read anything lately and would like to share a review with our library members? Have you have taken on some new interests to help you with your own mental health and keep your mind active. Maybe you have a positive mantra to tell everyone about. Feel free to contact us about it and lets support each other in our reading community.
Now all thats left to say is, stay safe, keep washing those hands, and lets change our own little corner of the world however insular that seems right now, it's just as important.

Keep reading, keep smiling and if you're feeling brave try and explore new forms of communication on your tablet/device/apps or download some free digital books from Borrowbox and newpapers, e-Magazines & much more from R B Digital (more information on our website) to keep yourself in a great headspace.

Right now we may not be chatting to you as we are used to, but rest assured we are thinking about you all and wishing you well. Our library users make our service what it is, and we hope to serve you all again soon.  



Spooky tales from our town!

Here at Darlington library we are super proud of one of our colleagues for writing a book of the spooky kind! Sylvia, a library officer has always been interested in the paranormal and recently set up an online group called Supernatural Darlington as a platform for others to share their experiences too. The book is available as an e-book and for more information on how to obtain a copy contact Sylvia by email:

We caught up with her recently to find out all about it.


Sylvia can you tell us all about this new project:

The project began several years ago after setting up a group on Facebook. I was amazed when hundreds of people flocked to the site and shared their experiences. There were so many scary stories I decided I must put together a book of the best ones.  


Have you always been interested in ghosts and the supernatural?

Well, I’ve always loved a good ghost story and my childhood favourite is about the ghost of Lady Jarrett and the Bishop’s Palace (the site of the town hall is where the large palace once stood). I’ve also had personal experiences which I can’t explain, and I think that is why I still find the subject fascinating.


How can readers get hold of the book?

My book is available as an e-Book via Borrowbox on the Darlington Libraries website and also to buy on Amazon.


Have you a spooky story you’d like to share with our members?

There are so many! But yes, one of my favourite stories is about a young boy who invited a friend to his home at Christmas. His parents and sister were out. The boys heard a noise upstairs and they went into the hallway expecting to see a family member. But there at the top of the stairs was a First World War soldier in full uniform, wearing a trench coat. The boy turned to his friend to ask if he could see him, but his friend had already legged it!


If anyone wanted to start ghost hunting have you any advice?

I’ve only ever been on one organised ghost hunt but my advice is always to get permission before attempting to explore any building/grounds. There are lots of ways to engage with those who are interested in the paranormal and our Facebook group is a great place to start.


If you dare to read the new collection of true life encounters…just remember to leave the light on!

We ask can a film ever be as good as the book its based on?

Emma by Jane Austen, is a novel about youth and the perils of misconstrued romance. The story takes place in the fictional village of Highbury and the surrounding estates of Hartfield, Randalls, and Donwell Abbey and involves the relationships among individuals in those locations consisting of "3 or 4 families in a country village".The novel was first published in December 1815, with its title page listing a publication date of 1816. As in her other novels, Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women living in Georgian-Regency England; she also creates a lively comedy of manners among her characters and depicts issues of marriage, sex, age, and social status.

Before she began the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." In the first sentence, she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and a happy disposition... and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her." Emma is spoiled, headstrong, and self-satisfied; she greatly overestimates her own matchmaking abilities; she is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people's lives; and her imagination and perceptions often lead her astray.

Emma, written after Austen's move to Chawton, was the last novel to be completed and published during her life, as persuasion the last novel Austen wrote, was published posthumously.

This novel has been adapted for several films, many television programmes, and a long list of stage plays. It is also the inspiration for several novels. One of our librarians went to see it at the weekend and we asked her what she made of this new modern adaptation.

“I have spent a very happy couple of hours enjoying the new film version of Jane Austen's Emma. Anya Taylor-Joy is perfect in the title role with Johnny Flynn oozing charisma as Mr Knighltey the hero of the piece. If you were bowled over by Colin Firth's Darcy you should be bowled over by Johnny Flynn even more. He is second only to Theo James as Sidney parker in ITV's Sanditon in my list of favourite Austen screen heroes. My favourite moment of the whole film had to be when Emma and Mr Knightley dance together and realise their feelings for each other. The chemistry between the two of them is electric and really comes across to the viewer.

The costumes were everything you would expect from a Jane Austen adaptation and all the romance a viewer could wish for was there in this film. There was plenty of fun and humour too. The well known commediene Miranda hart brings all her hilarity to the role of Miss Bates, and the mixture of jaunty folk music and opera on the soundtrack works perfectly”.


If watching this film has inspired you to read some Jane Austen for the first time or you just would like to re read some of your favourites, Darlington Library can supply you with your Austen fix, just ask us and we can find you one of these romantic classics to enjoy. Our online catalogue is the quickest way you can find a book you’re looking for and is available through our website, or our friendly staff are happy to help you. We keep lots of books in our bookstore so if you can’t find what you’re looking for on our shelves its always worth asking. We also offer a request service so can sometimes buy a new borrowable copy of a book in especially for you, or loan it from another library across the UK so we will always help in anyway we can.

Did you know that Deefor dragon is our junior library mascot and likes to visit the library whenever he can (we see him often at our events and of course he loves to visit the Market square on St George’s day!)



This week Deefor stopped by for a chat to tell me all about what we have going on for children in the junior library. We will try not to let it drag-on for too long!

Deefor: Hello, I’ll start with one of my best jokes…. How do you know if there is a dragon under your bed?

Me: I don’t know.

D: Your nose is touching the ceiling. Ha ha! I always love that joke, it’s one of my best.

Me: That’s great Deefor, I’ll bet you have lots more where that came from, knowing what you’re like!

D: Abso-dragon-lutely! But first of all I wanted to tell our amazing junior library members about some of the exciting things we have going on in the next couple of months here at the library. I’m so excited! Firstly we have plenty to keep your little ones busy during half term, everything from making your own books to seeing a musical performance. How brilliant is that! We have even more happening during our Bookfest 2020, happening 2nd-7th March, everything is free and there are magic shows, interactive storytelling, princess and superhero parties and some drama workshops so lots of events and something to suit everybody aged 2-16. We haven’t forgotten about those tweens and teens either, with an evening just for them!

Me: Wow! Deefor that sounds a busy time for the library. How do people get places at these events?

D: They can visit our website and click on a link which takes you to the libraries Eventbrite page and you can book through there, but be quick, these tickets won’t be around forever! During term time for our baby dragons…I mean baby humans we have our popular rhymetime sessions, full of songs, musical instruments and play! You don’t need to let us know you are coming to the Darlington library sessions you can just turn up on the day, but pre-booking is a must for Cockerton sessions. They’re such a great way to encourage reading and literacy from a very early age, and the junior library just bursts with energy and laughter! And you can join the library and start borrowing our books which is the most amazing part!

Me: That’s brilliant, there’s definitely no excuse of having nothing to do then!

D: Mums and dads everywhere listen up! You don’t want bored children on your hands! Which brings me to another joke, what’s a hungry dragons favourite day of the week?

Me: Ooh, I don’t know.

D: Chews-day of course!

Me: Another belter there Deefor. Before you go though tell me something I’ve always wanted to know. Why do dragons sleep during the day?

D: So they can fight knights.

Me: ah, it all makes sense now! We will catch up soon Deefor and for more information on our events programme visit our website:

If you have always had a passion for knitting, or are a beginner and would like to see what it’s all about why not join our lovely knitting group every Monday morning at Darlington library. We meet from 10-12 and we promise to make you welcome.

We stopped by for a chat and asked what the group means to two of our knitters and why new members are always welcome to join.

What’s the best thing about knitting?

Its relaxing, it keeps you calm. I really get a sense of fulfilment when a garment is finished. I find it such a relaxing form of occupation.

What’s the funniest thing to happen in the group?

I would say generally we always have a laugh.

Probably when we tell each other funny stories and when one of us forgets our knitting!

What advice would you give to a first-time knitter?

I would say persevere, you will get it. Mistakes happen to the best of us, don’t worry.

What are you making at the moment and where do you get your ideas?

I’m making a crocheted throw, a fairisle jumper and an R2D2! I get my ideas from magazines and people at the group mainly. I am knitting for the Darlington memorial hospital baby shop.

Why should someone come along to join the knitting group?

We are a happy, friendly group and everyone is welcomed. It’s great fun, come along and meet us!


So what is knitting?

Knitting is the process of using two or more needles to loop yarn into a series of interconnected loops in order to create a finished garment or some other type of fabric. The word is derived from knot, thought to originate from the Dutch verb knutten, which is similar to the Old English cnyttan, “to knot”. Its origins lie in the basic human need for clothing for protection against the elements. The oldest knitted artefacts are socks from Egypt dating from the 11th century! More recently hand knitting has become less a necessary skill and more a hobby. We of course have lots of books on our shelves to help give you ideas or get you started.



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