Monday, March 07, 2011

Libraries - oldest and newest

I've written before about Scotland's oldest public lending library at Innerpeffray in Perthshire, but it's timely to mention it again for several reasons. Firstly, it reopened to the public last week for the visiting season, and so, with the scent of Spring drawing us all out of darkened rooms again, I'd like to highlight it as a wonderful destination for a day out - snowdrops, the river Earn, a ruined castle, and antiquarian books to pore over. You can read about the library's history in The First Light by George Chamier. As a limited edition it's not the cheapest of books, but there's a copy you can read while on site.

Secondly, with all the threatened library closures, there couldn't be a more fitting celebration of the value of books and libraries than this building, its book collection and in particular the ledger which shows the wide social scope of its borrowers over three hundred years. It was a lamp of learning and democracy after some dark times.

And thirdly, I've just been commissioned by BBC Radio Four to write a play set at Innerpeffray, which will draw on its history and significance although set in contemporary times. A great creative challenge which I look forward to with great excitement and the usual amount of trepidation about whether I can do the subject justice.

Not all is doom and gloom in the contemporary library world. My local community library opened at the new Breadalbane School Campus just before Christmas with a calendar of author events, storytelling, masses of space and light, and BOOKS!


Hazey said...

Sounds a great commission, Linda. Well done. I love Innerpeffray Library, have fond memories of it and the surrounding countryside.

Linda Cracknell said...

It's a gem, isn't it? I feel very lucky to be working there.

Kenny Taylor said...

The concept for the play sounds great, Linda. I spent a month on a dig at the nearby Roman Fort (Strageath) but didn't manage to see the library. Great Samian Ware bowl came out of that fort's ditch, I remember.

Linda Cracknell said...

That's very interesting. Is that the fort over the river from the library? I went and had a roam around there looking for traces last year. No bowls though!