2019 is flying by and the library continues to flourish. We have hosted some great talks and workshops, including some wonderful children’s events, and enjoyed hosting our Spring and Summer Fairs. We bid a sad farewell to our Assistant Librarian, Katie Lennon in April, and welcomed Sue Garwood in her place, who has settled in wonderfully. The Library has also upgraded the wifi and introduced other processes to help make the running of the library more efficient. Check the end of this newsletter for a list of remaining events this year, and in particular, don’t forget the Library’s annual Book Fair on 21st September.


From the Chair

Penzance’s new Mayor, Nicole Broadhurst, visited the Library on August 15th, accompanied by Hester Hunt, Town Clerk, and Paula Smith, the Council’s Support Services Manager/Responsible Financial Officer. The visited was instigated by Trustee Tina Clark (who also made the delicious scones we ate at the end of the visit!). Lisa and I showed the councilors around the Library’s rooms where they were very impressed with both the range and age of the books on our shelves. They also met Sandie, Pamela and Hilary from the book restoration and repairing team, hard at work in the basement, before visiting the Photo Archive where Glyn and David explained the archive’s work and shared some of its images. The tour ended in the reading room where Lisa had arranged an impressive display of items from the Library’s Archives. The Mayor’s visit was an opportunity to bring the Town Council up to date on where the Library currently stands, and it’s plans going forward, including digitization and alignment with the National Archives. 


As you know only too well we’ve been plagued with roof leaks over the past few years. These have all been patched up, but on a temporary basis. This is clearly not a satisfactory solution and we are now going ahead with permanent repairs to the roof. We are very grateful to the Tanner Trust who are helping us with the cost of these repairs, which we hope will be completed before the end of the year. 

Peter Chapman – Chair


News from the Photo Archive 

The Photo Archive has created a calendar using some of the historic photos from the Archive, ‘MORRAB LIBRARY 2020’. As we go to press it is in the hands of the printers and will be on sale in the library very soon! A perfect Christmas present for all your friends and relations at home and abroad. 


We have a great team of volunteers in the Photo Archive. We are a friendly bunch with a range of skills that we have learned ‘on the job’. Would you like to join us? At present we need more people to scan prints and negatives and save them on the database. We will show you how to do everything, so as long as you aren’t computer-phobic you will be able to contribute. Training sessions will be on Thursday mornings but after that you can choose a time to suit you to continue the good work. Come and talk to us any Thursday morning or email: photoarchive@morrablibrary.org.uk or dave.puddifoot.trustee@gmail.com 

David Puddifoot – Photo Archive Manager


A new way of paying…..

Some members may have noticed we have very recently installed a new electronic till system at the reception desk. This means we can now accept payments by card, alongside cash and cheque – an exciting development for the library.This will help to streamline the way we work and help us manage those precious pennies we receive from members and visitors.


National Archives

We are excited to announce that work has now commenced on the project to digitise our Archives catalogue. A small team of volunteers are now transcribing the paper records of our holdings, which allows us to upload our records on to the National Archives catalogue. The DISCOVERY catalogue is available via the web and searchable by anybody throughout the world. It means that Penwith’s history and culture is, deservedly, being shared with an audience beyond the region. The first 92 records created by one of our volunteers are those of the archaeologist J.T. Blight – you can view them on the catalogue via this link: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_q=morrab+library+blight


Other cataloguing news 

By the end of this year, the library will have acquired a new library management system called KOHA. This will allow us to start the very long process of cataloguing all of the books in the library into a searchable online catalogue. The index cards we presently use are not going anywhere for a long time, but the ultimate aim is to create a system where all of the books we hold can be searched for by author, title, dewey number and subject, so we all have a far better idea about the treasures on the Morrab’s shelves (including those high ones!). We’ll keep you updated on progress. 


Book suggestions

Don’t forget, if you would like the library to consider purchasing any new titles, we have a Book Suggestion list where you can add your thoughts. You’ll find this at the library front desk. Our Book Selection Committee meets three times per year where all suggestions are considered. 



A big thank you as always to our amazing team of volunteers who keep the doors to the library open, and for embracing the continual change which is unfolding here. We have welcomed some new faces in the last few months, as well as said goodbye to old friends. Please know that current or past, we are so grateful to all who volunteer in the library in any capacity. A thank you tea for our volunteers will be held on Saturday 23rd November – save the date!


Penwith Local History Group

The Penwith Local History Group (PLHG) has enjoyed a strong relationship with Morrab Library for many years. The group undertake important and fascinating research into West Cornwall and are based here at the library, meeting regularly and making use of our collections. Their latest book, Growing up in West Cornwall, brings to life the experience of childhood in West Cornwall, from as far back as the seventeenth century, taking us up to the 1960’s. Copies of the volume are available to purchase for £10 directly from the PLHG at: https://bit.ly/2ZrnhSt , or at the library front desk.


Public Access Defibrillator  – a message from Martin Crosfill, Library Member

Owing to the exigencies of the Data Protection Act, this appeal has been delayed until it can

be incorporated in this newsletter. The Library, the Friends of the Gardens and Pengarth

Day Centre have agreed to support an appeal for the provision of a public access

defibrillator in the Morrab Gardens.The Gardens are used by people of all ages and it is

hardly necessary these days to point out the value. £2000 is the target, of which we already have over £500. This covers the cost of the apparatus, installation and training. Cash or cheques can be given in at the Library. Cheques should be made out to `Hypatia Trust defibrillator account’. Please support us – it might be you! 


Committee News


Comings and goings

We have welcomed a number of new Trustees to the Library Committee this year. Following is a complete list of current Trustees:


Chair: Peter Chapman Vice-Chair: Jak Stringer

Honorary Secretary: Stephen Clark Honorary Treasurer: Julian Little

Honorary Librarian: Ashley Axten Hon. Health & Safety Officer: Tim Kendall-Carpenter


George Care

Tina Clark

Sue Nebesnuick

David Puddifoot

Susan Soyinka

Harry Spry-Leverton


Custodial Trustees: Mary Ellery; David Mann; Jenni Pozzi


Tom Arkell 17 April 2019

We were sad to hear of the passing of Tom Arkell in April. Tom was Chairman of Morrab Library from 1996 to 1999, and helped introduce a number of changes to the library, including its change of name from Penzance Library to Morrab Library.


Annual General Meeting

The date is set for next year’s Annual General Meeting – it will be held on Monday 4th March 2020, venue to be confirmed. We will pass on more information about this meeting in the coming months.


Lisa Di Tommaso


September 2019


Upcoming events at the Morrab Library 


Please don’t try and book until the event has been advertised by the Library.




Saturday 21st September 10.30am – 2.00pm

Event: Morrab Library Annual Book Fair


Tuesday 24th September 2.00pm

Talk: Victoria Osborne-Broad

Guardian of the Stones Book Launch (PLACES STILL AVAILABLE)




Wednesday 9th October 2.00pm

Talk: Martin Crosfill

The Tragic Tale of J.T. Blight


Saturday 12th October 11.00am

Talk: Sue Astles

Harry Ousey


Saturday 19th October 

Study Day: Mark Cottle  – “When England Had Hardly Begun” (FULLY BOOKED)


Saturday 26th October

Talk: Friends of Morrab Gardens – the Red Squirrel Project




Wednesday 6th November

Talk: Sharon Wright

Balloonomania Belles: Daredevil Divas Who First Took to the Sky


Saturday 9th November

Book launch: Melissa Hardie  – Bronte Territories: Cornwall and the Unexplored Maternal Legacy, 1760-1870


Tuesday 12th November 1-4pm

Film Screening:Severn and Somme  – The Life of Ivor Gurney


Wednesday 13 November 2.00pm

Talk: Cornish Records Office

An overview of Kresen Kernow and the Archives and Cornish Studies Service


Saturday 16th November 10.30 – 2.00pm

Event: Morrab Library Christmas Craft Fair




Saturday 7th December 11.00am

Talk: Mark Cottle

Shackleton (reprised)


Wednesday 11th December 2.00pm

Talk: Suzy Williams

Once Upon A Christmas – a talk on all things Christmas: legend, how other countries celebrate, and the origins of the day.


Saturday 14th December 1.30pm – 4.30pm

Event: Morrab Library Christmas Party