Celebrating Libraries Week (5-10 October 2020)
Libraries Week is an annual showcase of the best that libraries have to offer, celebrating the nation's much-loved libraries and their vital role in the UK's book culture. We have been celebrating this week with a series of readings by our members and volunteers. We hope you enjoy them.
Paul Auchterlonie, one of our library volunteers, reads from A True and Faithful Account of the Religion and Manners of the Mohammetans (1704) by the Exonian, Joseph Pitts. Paul worked as a librarian for over 40 years and on his retirement published an edition of Joseph Pitts’ book entitled, Encountering Islam. This passage recounts Pitts’ escape from slavery and his extraordinary passage on foot through Europe during which he is assisted by many well-wishers and learns an important lesson – ‘we are bound to do good to strangers’.
Beth Howell, our Saturday Activities Coordinator, reads from the poetry of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, otherwise known as Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte. Beth read Victorian Literature as an undergraduate and is currently writing her PhD thesis on the literature of the Isles of Scilly.
John Reeves, a library tour guide and trustee, reads poetry by William Wordsworth and by a lesser-known local poet, John Bidlake. Bidlake was born in Plymouth in 1755 and was both headmaster of the city’s Grammar School and minister of St George’s Church, Stonehouse. He published numerous sermons and a collection of poems, including an exaltation of Mount Edgcumbe, a 16th century mansion in south-east Cornwall.
Marina, one of our library volunteers, has adopted this curious book – Manners and meals in olden time by Frederick Furnivall, published in 1868. The collection of texts sheds light on the history of the cultural and social life of England.
One of our junior members reads from an amazing two hundred year old chemistry text book by Samuel Parkes called A chemistry catechism, published in 1806. The book was originally conceived by the author for the education of his daughter. This junior member is quite keen to try out these experiments! Our founding members at the Institution used to undertake scientific experiments in the Inner Library.
Margaret Knight, Chair of the Institution, reads from a signed copy of the collected poems of Charles Causley (1917-2003) – a revered Cornish poet and a University of Exeter academic. The University Library holds a large collection of Causley’s poems and papers, including his literary manuscripts. If you are a Charles Causley fan you can adopt our signed copy of his poems here.