Libraries Newsletter
November 2021
Beyond Labels: The Unified Generation
at Blackburn Library

"At a time when it seems that the world is at a tipping point. Discouraged and Discouraging; when the labels we are given not only burn into our sense of worth, but cause unnecessary divide - there comes a generation standing side by side. Encouraged and Encouraging. One that designs their own brands to wear. Using labels to build and not destroy. This is the Unified Generation.”
The multi-award winning team return for the third iteration of their Beyond Labels spoken word series: 'Beyond Labels: The Unified Generation’.

The Beyond Labels Collective comprises of 15 young emerging spoken word artists from the East Lancashire town of Accrington. Using creativity as a vehicle for self-exploration and self-expression the collective has produced a powerful anthology of work.
Tickets are free and can be booked via Eventbrite here:  You can also phone (01254) 661221 and ask to speak to Andrew Orr or contact Waqar Ahmed (01254) 233500, email

More increases to opening hours

Mill Hill Library
We are delighted to announce further increases in opening hours this month.  This time it's the residents of Mill Hill who will benefit, as Mill Hill Library opens on Tuesdays from 10 am - 12.30 pm, and from 1.30 - 3 pm, in addition to the previously announced opening hours on Wednesday and Thursday mornings.  We are hugely grateful to all our volunteers in the library service, who help to keep services and even branch libraries running at times when we would otherwise struggle to do so.  The overall pattern of opening hours is now as follows:

Blackburn Library
Mondays: 10 am - 7 pm
Tuesdays - Fridays: 10 am - 5 pm
Saturdays: 10 am - 2 pm

Darwen Library
Mondays: 10 am - 7 pm
Tuesdays: CLOSED
Wednesdays & Thursdays: 1 - 5 pm
Fridays: 10 am - 5 pm
Saturdays: 10 am - 2 pm

Cherry Tree Library
Mondays: 2 - 4.30 pm
Wednesdays: 10 am - 12.30 pm & 2 - 4.30 pm
Fridays: 2 - 4.30 pm
Saturdays: 10 am - 12.30 pm

Mill Hill Library
Tuesdays: 10 am - 12.30 pm & 1.30 - 3 pm
Wednesdays & Thursdays: 10 am - 12.30 pm

Roman Road Library
Tuesdays & Thursdays: 9 am - 12 pm

Activities for all at Mill Hill Library

Along with the increased opening hours, a number of regular activities and events have also started again at Mill Hill Library as follows:

Tuesdays: Brew Time, drop in 2 - 3 pm
Wednesdays: Craft and chat, 10.30 am - 12 pm
Thursdays: Story time, 11 - 11.30 am

Reminiscence sessions return at Cherry Tree Library

On 3rd November, our reminiscence sessions will recommence with an introductory session at Cherry Tree Library.  Starting at 2 pm and running until 3 pm, the sessions will be the perfect opportunity to drop in for a natter about 'the good old days' (and possibly put the world to rights about some not so good ones too).  The plan is that the sessions will run on the first Wednesday of each month after 3rd November, with a different theme each month chosen by the membership of the group, but the first session will be a bit of a 'getting to know you' exercise called ' introduction down memory lane'.

Don't forget about the other regular activities at Cherry Tree Library too:

Mondays: Brew Time, 2 - 3 pm
Tuesdays: Tai Chi, 1.30 - 2.30 pm (NB the library is closed - bookings should be made with Age UK, tel 01254 266620)
Wednesdays: Story time, 10.30 - 11 am, Brew Time, 11 am - 12 pm
Fridays: Knit and Natter, 2 - 4 pm
Story and rhyme times at Blackburn and Darwen Libraries
To ensure that we stay as Covid safe as possible heading into winter, we will continue to request that customers book in advance for our story and rhyme time sessions at Blackburn Library and Darwen Library.  We continue to keep a close eye on all local and national guidance concerning Coronavirus and will relax these arrangements when we're sure it's safe to do so.  In the meantime, please contact the relevant library either by email or telephone to request a place, and give us as much notice as you can if you find that you can't make your booked session after all, as 'no shows' prevent others from accessing the sessions.

Blackburn Library, Wednesdays 10.30 - 11 am (term time only).  Bookings: (01254) 661221 or email

Darwen Library, Wednesdays 2 - 2.30 pm (term time only) and Fridays 10.30 - 11 am (term time only).  Bookings: (01254) 706021 or email
Complete Blackburn based saga now available
from author Libby Ashworth

Local author Libby Ashworth has published a trilogy of historical novels set firmly in Blackburn against the backdrop of the Lancashire textile trade.  Author Kitty Neale writes, "An engrossing tale of hardship, struggles, love and family.  I was swept away to the North of England and into the world of cotton spinners".

We were absolutely thrilled when Libby acknowledged and the Tuesday Reading Group as sources of help and inspiration.  All three books are now available from Blackburn with Darwen Libraries, so why not reserve a copy and read the saga for yourself.  In sequence the titles are The Cotton Spinner (set in 1826), A Lancashire Lass (1832) and A Family Secret (1842).  We very much hope to arrange a visit from Libby Ashworth to Blackburn Library when her schedule permits (probably early in 2022).  Watch this space for more details.
Connect & Learn IT courses
Monthly computer assistance will be recommencing at Roman Road Library this month.  Sessions will take place every third Thursday of the month from 10 - 11.30 am, so the next scheduled session is Thursday 18th November.  Capacity is limited, so to be sure of getting help with any IT related questions or queries please book in advance by phoning Louise Barnett (01254) 587934 or email

Other courses and drop in sessions will take place during November as follows:

Blackburn Library
  • GMail Basics, Mon 1st Nov, 1.30 - 3.30 pm, booking required
  • Tablet Training, Wed 3rd Nov, 10.30 - 11.30 am, booking required
  • Using the Internet, Mon 8th Nov, 1.30 - 3.30 pm, booking required
  • Tablet Training, Wed 10th Nov, 10.30 - 11.30 am, booking required
  • Shopping Online, Mon 15th Nov, 1.30 - 3.30 pm, booking required
  • IT drop in, Wed 17th Nov, 10 am - 12 pm
  • IT drop in, Wed 24th Nov, 10 am - 12 pm
Darwen Library
  • Connect and Learn, every Wednesday afternoon, 2 - 4 pm, booking required

November is a time for remembrance.  The wooden box pictured above is one of three in Blackburn Central Library entitled 'European War 1914 -'.  The boxes themselves are a poignant reminder of the war which raged until 1918.  All the cards in the collection are now available to view in the Military Image Gallery on Cotton Town

Community History volunteers continue to work hard on this image gallery, and are now publishing references to soldiers who died during the Second World War.  Images are being added to the WW2 roll of honour here:  If you are able to supply any more names or images we would love to hear from you.  Please contact

Important updates about online local history resources

During lockdown, special permission was sought to allow customers to use Find My Past from home using a Blackburn with Darwen Library & Information Service card.  This arrangement was temporary, and came to and end at the beginning of September 2021.  Ancestry continues to be available from home until further notice.  Happily, both resources remain available to use free of charge at the public access computers in any Blackburn with Darwen library.

Mystery History photos

Congratulations if you correctly identified last month's photo (above) as Ainsworth Street near the centre of Blackburn.  In the foreground we see the Cinema Royal which was demolished in 1967 to make way for the first phase of the new shopping centre (now The Mall).  In fact almost every other building in this picture has since been demolished too, and St John's Church in the background sadly burned in a devastating fire in 2019 although its tower still stands as a proud landmark today.

Here's an image from the glorious age of steam...or is it?  First appearances may be deceptive, which is why we're asking not just where the image was taken, but if you'd like to hazard a guess as to the approximate date this time.  As usual there are no prizes - it's all just for fun

Panto season is almost here ("oh no it isn't")

King George's Hall
FROM 6th - 31st DECEMBER 2021 | U | Tickets: from £13  
Come and join the beautiful Snow White and her seven little friends from the enchanted forest as they attempt to defeat the evil Wicked Queen who is overcome with jealousy when her magic mirror declares that Snow White is the fairest in all the land. Will Snow White meet her handsome Prince and live happily ever after?

Starring Strictly Come Dancing Champion – Katya Jones as The Wicked Queen*, CBBC’s – Hacker T. Dog as The Magic Mirror*, Comedy Star – Charlie Guest as Muddles, The Hilarious – Steve Boyce as Dame Dolly, Local Favourite – Chloe Carrington as Snow White, Singing Sensation – Daniel Lacey as The Prince & Introducing – Helen Farrell as The Fairy.
* Please note Katya Jones will only appear in performances from 19th December.
* Hacker T. Dog will appear as a pre-recorded video projection and does not appear in person.


Darwen Library Theatre
FROM 13th - 24th DEC 2021 | VARIOUS PERFORMANCES  | Tickets: £10 / U16 £8
What would you do if one year Winter decided to stay and moved into your house? Well that’s what happens in our snowy spectacular show where you are guaranteed a white Christmas, no matter what the weather or the time of year!

Snow Play is a showdown between Winter and Spring over who gets to stay and who has to go away.
Help Mr Green against Mr White in this highly interactive smash-hit London production. You get to make a giant snowman, cover a whole house in snow and have a super snowball fight!

New THRIVE art sessions for single parents & toddlers
at The Bureau, Blackburn

Are you a single parent?  Do you have a child under 4?  Do you feel like no one understands?  You are not alone!  Come and enjoy therapeutic art and craft sessions, chat with other parents and have some fun with your child in a safe, relaxed and supportive environment.  A free drink and biscuit are included.  Suggested donation for attendance is £1.  The sessions take place each Wednesday from 1 - 2.30 pm at The Bureau Centre for the Arts, Penny Street, Blackburn, BB1 6HQ.  Telephone (01254) 665412 for more information.

Long COVID Support Group
Did you know that Blackburn with Darwen council has launched a Long COVID peer support group?  The group has been created so that those who are suffering the longer term effects of Covid-19 have a place to discuss their experiences and share coping techniques in an understanding environment.

The sessions are held at Blackburn Central Library.  If this is something that someone you know would benefit from, please contact the Covid Community Champions Team on 01254 588111 or email with your name and contact details.
Re:Fresh Get Active timetable available now
Our partners at re:fresh are helping residents to get back into shape and lose the lockdown pounds with a varied programme of activities for all ages.  To take part in re:fresh activities, people must have a leisure card (previously known as a Beez card) and live, work, have a GP or be in full-time education in the Blackburn with Darwen borough.  A leisure card can be applied for online, or at any of the following leisure centres: Blackburn, Darwen or Witton Park Arena.

The Get Active timetable can be viewed at
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 Service.

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