Sun 24 April 2016
Rhian writes ...
Our library grew out of Carl’s personal collection of books, which grew quite rapidly in the days when he did the ‘God Spot’ on local radio and was sent books to review. I freely admit that it seems at first to be an idiosyncratic collection of books: a lot on religion (as you would expect), then a small but significant element of health related items – from how to look after your back to how to cope with anxiety – a sizable section of devotional material which we use as a Community as well as being available for guests. Then the books for interest and relaxation, such as a few history books, local interest, art, fiction and not forgetting the DVDs. It’s a collection that is constantly changing as new books are added, old books are taken to Oxfam, and guests inadvertently pack books up and take them home! If you fall into the last category please remember the old school rhyme: “If this book should chance to roam, box its ears and send it home.” We’ll be pleased to welcome our wanderers back with open arms.
Local people – mostly clergy – can book the library for a study day which is why you will sometimes find it is closed. Our guests can pop in and borrow books during their stay or settle down in a comfy chair and just read something unexpected which has caught their attention. Community and Alongsiders borrow books for their own personal devotions and interest, but unfortunately guests are not able borrow books beyond their stay with us.
Sometimes we’re asked why the collection isn’t catalogued according to the Dewey system that many people are familiar with. The answer is twofold, firstly, it isn’t as easy to classify books as you might imagine. If you’re not careful the numbers on the spine will mean that the book is about Celtic Christianity travelling the world on the back of a camel – possible but unlikely! Secondly, because the majority of the collection is based on the Christian religion we would have a large section of books with up to twelve numbers after the decimal point in order to accurately ensure that like books are theoretically kept together. Speaking from personal experience, the numbers are so long that hardly anyone can either find them or put them away accurately, which leaves over two thousand wrong places to find something (we currently have about 2,030 books). So, basic alphabetical order it is, and if you’re looking for a particular author we hope it’s made your life easier. If you’re looking for a particular subject hopefully the catalogue on the little library computer will be of help (or browse the on-line catalogue). Either way, we hope the library is useful to guests during their stay with us.