A happy new year

The Library team would like to wish all our members a very happy and healthy 2019, and thank you for your continuing support and friendship. After the great success of our very busy Bicentenary year, things may feel a little quieter this year, but we promise there will still be lots of talks, events and classes to enjoy. A list of confirmed events for 2019 is at the end of this newsletter, and more will follow. We won’t be taking bookings for each of the talks until the event is advertised closer to their scheduled time.

A message from the Chair

A Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you had a great Christmas, wherever or however you spent it.

As we move into a New Year it’s worth reflecting, briefly, on our bicentennial which has just ended. It was a successful year, full of events both in the library and elsewhere that ranged from lectures, concerts and storytelling in schools, to the Pop Up Shop and a film screening. These all helped to significantly raise the profile of the library, with the result that we ended 2018 with our membership just over 650. I’d like to thank the staff for all their efforts in this. They managed the weekly (sometimes daily) roster of fully booked events with calm assurance, whilst ensuring the day to day running of the library proceeded as normal.

January is membership renewal month (sorry to raise this matter!) and I’m happy to say that renewals and new memberships are currently running at a higher rate than this time last year.

Going forward in 2019 we’ll continue to develop the library’s services. The first of these will be a new Audio Visual system in the reading room, and an upgrade to the library’s Wi-Fi system. Both of these projects have been funded by The Myner Trust, and we thank them for their generous support. In terms of governance, we have a fully working committee, bar one significant omission – a Health and Safety Officer. So, if any of you have experience in this field and would be prepared to put yourself forward for this role, we’d love to hear from you. Less formally the Management Committee is also seeking to establish sub-committees/working groups in the fields of Human Resources and Fundraising so again, if these are your skills and you’re happy to give your time, please let us know. That’s the end of the appeals.  See you at the AGM on March 4th

Peter Chapman – Chair.  

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General meeting will be held on Monday 4th March from 2.00pm at the Lugger Inn, 3 Marine Terrace, The Promenade, Penzance, TR18 4DL. Proposals for amendments to the  constitution are posted on the notice board in the library providing full details. All members are very welcome to attend – please note however that on voting matters, only one vote per household is permitted.


Thanks to all who have already renewed your annual membership to the Library. For those who haven’t, attached you will find a membership renewal form – could we ask you to complete the form and return it to us with payment, either in person or by post? If you can’t print the form at home, please don’t worry, we can supply a copy when you are next in. If you’d like to pay by Standing Order, a mandate form is attached as well, or is available from library staff. The cost for Household membership remains at £30, and at the moment we can still only accept cash or cheque payments.

200 Centenary Book

At the recent Christmas Party, Steph Haxton and Sue Lewington handed over the ‘200’ year book to the library – celebrating the milestone of the Library’s 200th anniversary. Titled ‘The Uncommon Place’, it is a collection of poems, prose, art and photographs contributed by you, the members over the last twelve months. It is a true labour of love by Sue and Steph, and a stunning and poignant piece of art in its own right. All members are welcome to come and browse its pages. We won’t be leaving it on the open shelves as it is very precious, but we will be very happy to retrieve it for you to enjoy here at the library on request. There is also currently a display in the cabinet at reception which takes a look at the making of the book.

New year, new look website

For those of you with access to the internet, you may have noticed that the Morrab Library website has had a makeover. We have updated the look of the website with plenty of beautiful new images, and hopefully an easier way to navigate your way around the pages to find the information you need. In the coming months, we will refresh and update some of the information on the site, as well as add some new content, including more contributions from you, our members. We’ll keep you posted and be in touch about this – stay tuned!

Digitising the catalogue

The Library Committee has agreed to proceed with initiating the project to digitise our library card index of the book collections in 2019. We are all immensely fond of the card catalogue, but I’m sure many of you will agree that it is sometimes difficult to find books we hold when using it. We aim to get all of our book holdings online so they will be searchable by author, title and subject, allowing you to find books far more easily, and for library staff to manage the collections in a better way. The process will be slow, and take a number of years, so there will be no immediate changes to our current practice, but we all believe it’s an important and exciting way forward for the Morrab to help ensure its longevity, and perhaps one of the most significant steps in its history. We’ll be calling for volunteers to help with the project once we are up and running.

National Archives Scoping Grant

As reported in the last newsletter, we received a grant from the National Archives to engage a qualified archivist to visit and review our historic and important archival collections. We enjoyed a visit in November from Heather Roberts who as well as consulting, also works part-time at the Royal Northern College of Music, who was impressed by not only the collections we hold in the Archive, but by the brilliant indexing work undertaken by the late and greatly missed John Simmonds. Heather provided a range of useful advice to us as to how to move forward with managing our archival collections, with a particular view to making them available on the National Archives ‘Discovery’ catalogue. Exciting prospects ahead, and we shall keep you posted on developments.

A sad loss

It is with great sadness that we tell you that our much loved volunteer Millie Howells passed away on the 18th December. Millie had been a dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer since 1989, both in the library in general, and the photo archive, where she embraced change and new technology with relish. She will be sadly missed. Our thoughts go out to her family. An afternoon tea to remember Millie will be held at the library on Thursday 7th February from 2.00pm – all are welcome.


Lisa Di Tommaso


January 2019



Upcoming events at the Morrab Library

These are the events already planned – more will follow in due course. Please don’t try and book until the event has been advertised.


Saturday 2nd March 10.30-12.30

Workshop: Ukuleles in the Library – another chance to take the opportunity to learn or hone your Ukulele skills!

Wednesday March 13th 2.00pm – SOLD OUT

Talk: Jak Stringer

Wilkie Collins Rambles in Cornwall 1850

Saturday 30th March 11.00amSOLD OUT

Talk: Mark Cottle

A talk on the Shackleton Expedition  


Wednesday 10th April 2.00pm

Talk: Timothy Neat

Causley and Clemo – Two Poets Remembered


Saturday 4th May 2.00pm

Event: Morrab Library Spring Fair

Wednesday 8th May 2.00pm

Talk: Stephen Glendenning

Artists who work with books


Wednesday  12th June 2.00pm

Talk: Charlotte MacKenzie

Charlotte discusses her new book, Merchants and smugglers in eighteenth century Cornwall

Saturday 22nd June 10.30am – 3.00pm

Event: Morrab Library Summer Fair


Wednesday 10th July 2.00pm

Talk: Ruth Downie

Stories in Stones: murder mysteries set in Roman Britain


Wednesday 14th August 2.00pm

Talk: Melissa Thorpe

Spaceport Cornwall


Wednesday 11th September 2.00pm

Talk: Mike Griffiths

Listening to the Enemy: the St Erth Radio Station

Saturday 21st September 10.30am – 3.00pm

Event: Morrab Library Annual Book Fair


Wednesday 9th October 2.00pm

Talk: Martin Crosfill

The Stalker – J T Blight


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 – 3.00pm

Event: Morrab Library Christmas Craft Fair

Saturday 23rd November 1.30pm  – 3.30pm

Event: Library Volunteer Thank You Afternoon Tea


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: Library Christmas Party