Libraries Newsletter
February 2022

National Storytelling Week 
(30th January - 6th February)

To celebrate National Storytelling Week, a special event will take place on Saturday 5th February at Darwen Library.  Come and join us for a Family Story Time & Make your own Story Dice event, at 11 am.  Booking isn't required for this one.  (The Saturday event at Blackburn Library previously advertised on Facebook is now fully booked).

These are in addition to our regular story and rhyme times, which will also happen during National Storytelling Week:
  • Wednesdays, 10.30 - 11 am at Blackburn Library (Read, Rhythm & Rhyme), term time only
  • Wednesdays, 10.30 - 11 am at Cherry Tree Library
  • Wednesdays, 2 - 2.30 pm at Darwen Library, term time only*
  • Thursdays, 11 - 11.30 am at Mill Hill Library
  • Fridays, 10.30 - 11 am at Darwen Library, term time only*
*Due to limited space, we kindly request that families choose to attend one or the other of the weekly sessions at Darwen Library, but not both.

On Wednesday 2nd February, a representative from the council's Health & Wellbeing team will be available after Read, Rhythm & Rhyme at Blackburn Library to speak with parents about other opportunities for families in the borough.  Similarly a representative from the local Humraaz service will be available the following week (9th February).

Half term fun at Blackburn Library & Darwen Library

Come and have a go at using computer code to control your Lego models at our half term workshops on Friday 18th February.  These events are most suitable for children age 7 - 9 inclusive, but older children may also take part if they wish to.  Places are limited, so entry will be by free ticket, available from the relevant library.  There is a session at Blackburn Central Library in the morning from 10 am - 12 pm, and another at Darwen Library from 2 - 4 pm.  Children should be accompanied by an adult, as there won't be any library supervision for unaccompanied children available (accompanying adults do not need tickets).  To enquire about availability, please phone Blackburn Library (01254) 661221, or Darwen Library (01254) 706021.

Reading groups news

The Darwen Library Reading Group is meeting in person again, and has vacancies for new members (details above).  This month the group are reading 'Brighton Rock' by Graham Greene, a gangland thriller set in Brighton in the 1930s.

A gang war is raging in Brighton. Pinkie is 17 and fighting for leadership. He has already proved his ruthlessness by killing Hale, a journalist. But he isn't prepared for the courageous Ida Arnold who is determined to avenge Hale's death…

If you would like to join the discussions you can collect a copy of the book at Darwen Library.  The group is welcoming and informal, if you haven’t read the book you are welcome to join in & pick up the chosen book for the next month. We hope to see you there!

Our other library related reading groups meet as follows:
  • Tuesday Reading Group meets weekly every Tuesday at Blackburn Central Library from 10.15 - 11.45 am.
  • Books @ the Pub meets monthly, from 6 - 7.30 pm on the first Wednesday of each month, at The Observatory Pub, Old Bank Lane, Blackburn, BB2 3HG.
Book Review: 'The Power' by Naomi Alderman

I don't know about you, but I always find the Christmas / New Year holiday period a great time to catch up with all that reading that I've been meaning to get around to for some time, and so it was that I recently found myself reading this thought provoking novel (first published in 2016 and winner of the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction in 2017, available on BorrowBox).

'The Power' takes as its starting point a scenario in which all girls and women suddenly discover that they have a hitherto dormant power to generate electricity from their fingertips.  With practise, most of them can control these bursts of power and direct them at other people for pleasure, to hurt, to stun or even to kill.  It doesn't take long to realise the full implications of this, and as women the world over start to embrace suddenly being physically dominant over men, we see the long overdue righting of many injustices as slaves are freed, and abusive regimes are toppled.  But with any revolution, those who feel they're on the losing side aren't going to go quietly, while the 'winners' discover that they may not all share the same ideals.  As atrocities start to mount up, it seems that both sides are in danger of being dragged into a race to the bottom where anything goes to ensure that they keep the power which they feel is rightfully theirs.

Seemingly dividing opinion, some commentators have criticised this book for being misogynistic while others have hailed it as a feminist work with comparisons to Margaret Attwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale'.  The role reversal certainly doesn't always portray women in a positive light, but it holds a pretty uncomfortable mirror up to aspects of the traditional patriarchy too, while also asking some more profound questions about the nature of power itself - physical and political - and what can happen when the wrong people get it.  With shades of George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' and Malorie Blackman's 'Noughts & Crosses' series, if you liked those then you'll probably love 'The Power' too.  Be warned though, it does contain some violent and disturbing scenes which aren't for the faint hearted.

If you've read a book that really grabbed you recently, why not send us a review?  All submissions welcome.  Please email, and we may use it in a future edition of the newsletter.

BorrowBox Spotlight titles for February

The following BorrowBox titles are available for increased loans for a limited time this month, making them ideal selections for reading groups who want to read (or hear) the same title at the same time:
  • 'Our Chemical Hearts' by Krystal Sutherland (eBook & eAudio)
  • 'How Beautiful We Were' by Imbolo Mbue (eBook & eAudio)
  • 'The Rome Affair' by Karen Swan (eBook & eAudio)
  • 'The Wonder' by Emma Donoghue (eBook & eAudio)
  • 'The Line of Beauty' by Alan Hollinghurst (eBook & eAudio)
  • 'A Minute to Midnight' by David Baldacci (eBook & eAudio)
  • 'The Black Book' by James Patterson (eAudio only)
  • 'How to Feel Good in Difficult Times' by Gael Lindenfield (eAudio only)
  • 'Real Fake' by Aly Mennuti (eAudio only)
BorrowBox Spotlight title of the month for children
  • 'Monster Doughnuts' by Gianna Pollero (eBook & eAudio)
Equality & Access team news
This month's Reminiscence Session at Cherry Tree Library is on Wednesday 2nd February, 2 - 3 pm,  The theme this month is St Valentine's Day, the year is 1963 (a particularly bad winter) and we'll be discussing Valentine's cards received.  We'll also be discussing St Valentine.

Thursday 3rd February is Time to Talk Day (the nation's biggest mental health conversation), and there will be a drop in chat, tea and coffee session in the Digital Health Hub at Blackburn Central Library from 10 am - 12 pm.  All welcome!  Time to Talk day is part of the Time to Change campaign.  For more information see their website:

A new addition to the James H. Morton collection at Darwen Library

The last oil painting by Darwen's finest artist, James H Morton, was probably the self-portrait which he signed and dated just before he went off to join the Colours.  He was killed in France days before the end of the Great War.  All his work had been left with his sisters, and when the last of them died the collection was auctioned. Several had been selected by executers – including the self-portrait. It had never been away from the family until writer and historian Harold Heys bought it with help from Darwen’s Lloyd Trust, late in 2021. The original hangs in Darwen Heritage Centre, and this full sized print was created and framed by Conrad McKee of Canvasdesign UK and donated to Darwen Library.
Mystery History

Congratulations if you correctly identified last month's photo (above).  Photographer Adrian Lewis (former curator of Blackburn Museum) took it in the 1970s and listed it as "Witton Parade" looking towards St Philip's Church tower.  The equivalent view here shows how Witton Parade joins St Philip's Street today, which passes the other side of St Philip's Church tower.  It looks as if the rest of Witton Parade has been built over since.

This month's photo (below) is from a little longer ago.  It was donated by Cathy Stewart in 2011, but where is it and what was the building used for?  When do you think the photo might have been taken?  (It's certainly a lot longer ago than 2011!)  As usual it's just for fun - there are no prizes, but if you think you know, or you want to tell us something about the photo please email

Lancashire Local List project

Lancashire residents are being asked to participate in a new project funded by the Government (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) and supported by Historic England. The project encourages communities to identify the local heritage they value most for recognition and possible inclusion on a Local Heritage List.
Local heritage assets can include any buildings, structures, sites and landscapes that have historic or heritage merit and contribute to the character of the area. There are many heritage assets across the UK which are not on nationally designated lists, i.e. Listed Buildings, but remain important at a local level because they contribute to the character of an area, have historic associations, are local landmarks or are important to the community. These could include an interesting building or property, a cherished local memorial, village hall, mill building, a local park or simply an interesting historic feature like a village pump. Lancashire is a County that is diverse and rich in heritage and through this project the list wishes to identify what characterises Lancashire and makes it a unique place to live, work and visit.
The central aim of the Lancashire Local List Project is to recognise better locally important heritage assets throughout the County. To do this they want to encourage everyone to get involved and sign up to the project. They need local residents, communities, groups and societies throughout Lancashire to go out and identify local heritage and to nominate those candidate buildings and sites through the dedicated new website. Additionally, you will be able to contribute to assets already on the Local List or listed by other people by adding your own local knowledge, this can include photographs, documents etc. relating to that particular asset. Heritage assets already listed on the Lancashire Local List can be found here: – you can filter the list to see what has already been listed in your area. The website also provides information about the project and guidance on how to contribute. Buildings or sites nominated through the project will be considered under selection criteria developed from Historic England guidance. The year-long project is being co-ordinated by Growth Lancashire on behalf of the Lancashire Local Authorities.
For further information on how to register and be a part of the project, please visit:
IT courses this month
Tablet training
  • Friday 4th February, 11 am - 12 pm, Darwen Library
Introducing Ancestry & Find my Past
  • Wednesday 9th February, 1.30 - 3 pm, Blackburn Library
  • Friday 11th February, 2 - 3.30 pm, Darwen Library
Mouse & Keyboard
  • Wednesday 16th February, 1.30 - 3 pm, Blackburn Library
  • Friday 18th February, 2 - 3.30 pm, Darwen Library
  • Wednesday 23rd Feburary, 1.30 - 3 pm, Blackburn Library
  • Friday 25th February, 2 - 3.30 pm, Darwen Library
Please note that pre-booking is required for courses, due to limited availability.  If you want to drop in with an IT related query, please use the dedicated IT drop ins listed below.

Our regular programme of library based events at a glance...
  • 10 am - 12 pm, Craft group, Darwen Library
  • 2 - 3 pm, Brew Time, Cherry Tree Library
  • 2 - 4 pm, IT drop in, Blackburn Library
  • 5 - 7 pm, Youth group, Roman Road Library
  • 5.45 - 6.45 pm, Darwen Library Reading Group (14th Feb)
  • 10.15 - 11.45 am, Tuesday Reading Group, Blackburn Library
  • 2 pm, Brew Time, Mill Hill Library
  • 10 am - 12 pm, IT drop in, Blackburn Library
  • 10.30 - 11 am, Read, Rhythm & Rhyme, Blackburn Library (term time only)
  • 10.30 - 11 am, Story time, Cherry Tree Library
  • 10.30 am - 12 pm, Craft & chat, Mill Hill Library
  • 11 am - 12 pm, Brew time, Cherry Tree Library
  • 12 - 2 pm, Craft group, Roman Road Library
  • 2 - 2.30 pm, Story & rhyme time, Darwen Library (term time only)
  • 2 - 3 pm, Reminiscence session, Cherry Tree Library (2nd Feb)
  • 6 - 7.30 pm, Books @ the Pub, The Observatory, Old Bank Lane (2nd Feb)
  • 10 am - 12 pm, IT drop in, Mill Hill Library (starts 10th February)
  • 11 - 11.30 am, Story time, Mill Hill Library
  • 10.30 - 11 am, Story & rhyme time, Darwen Library (term time only)
  • 2 - 4 pm, Knit & Natter, Cherry Tree Library

Thrive at The Bureau, Blackburn
Details have come through of The Bureau's Thrive programme from January to March:
  • Monday 1 - 2 pm - Chair Yoga
  • Tuesday 3 - 5.30 pm - Music Group
  • Wednesday 9.30 - 11 am - Place of Welcome - Just drop in
  • Wednesday 1 - 2.30 pm - Single Parent & Young Child Arts & Craft
  • Wednesday 5.45 - 7.45 pm - Adult Community Street Band
  • Thursday 10 am - 12.30 pm - Thursday Craft Group
  • Thursday 1 - 3.30 pm - Thursday Art Group
  • Friday 10 am - 12 pm - Artful Minds
To enquire about any of these session, please drop in to 'Place of Welcome' on a Wednesday morning, email or phone (01254) 664215.

Festival of the date!

The fourth edition of the National Festival of Making weekend will return to Blackburn, Lancashire on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th June 2022.  For further details, keep an eye on their website:

Please note: Any opinions expressed in this newsletter are the contributor’s own and are not necessarily endorsed by Blackburn with Darwen Library and Information Services.

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