Libraries Newsletter

September 2022

Saturday opening to return to Roman Road Library

We are delighted to be able to announce that in a further increase to opening hours, the volunteers at Roman Road Library have agreed to open up on Saturdays.  Starting from Saturday 10th September, Roman Road will be open every Saturday from 10 am until 1 pm as well as the usual weekly opening times at each branch.

An afternoon with Mahmood Ahmed - local author

From humble beginnings in a small village in Pakistan to life in modern day Lancashire, Mahmood 'Mebs' Ahmed has led an extraordinarily rich and varied life, full of many surprising twists and turns.  He was the only one of his parents' five children to survive infancy, but after coming to England as a timid and incredibly shy young boy of about 9 years old, Mebs was considered a failure at school.  He drifted through various jobs including working in a bank, then as a bus conductor/driver, but in his own words he was transformed (following a chance meeting) by the love and devotion of a woman who is still the love of his life today.  He went on to find his true vocation as a police officer with the Lancashire Constabulary for 25 years, and retired as chair of the Lancashire Black Police Association.

The book is 'a journey of self-discovery - both romantic and hard-hitting', and it certainly doesn't shy away from depicting some of the racist abuse that early settlers from India and Pakistan faced in the UK when they first arrived.  However, it is also by turns 'hilarious, illuminating, informative (and) inspirational'.  Do join us on Thursday 22nd September at 2 pm for what promises to be a fascinating afternoon in Blackburn Central Library.  Tickets are available free of charge from the library.
Heritage Open Days, 9th - 18th September

Heritage Open Days is England's largest festival of history and culture.  Every year in September, it brings people together with their heritage, community and history.  Stories are told, traditions explored and histories brought to life.  This year Blackburn Library and Darwen Library will be taking part as follows:

Wednesday 14th September, 2 - 3 pm
A basic welcome and introduction to the library's community history resources will take place in the Community History section at Blackburn Central Library, before moving into the staff area to look at some examples of ephemera, maps, photographs and other resources which are not kept on open access.  Places are limited due to the nature of the venue.  To book a ticket (available from 30th August onwards) please contact, or phone (01254) 661221.  Please note that there is a ramp in the staff area of the library, but it may not be suitable for very large motorised wheelchairs or scooters.  Please check before booking.

8th - 30th September, normal library opening times
A small collection of photos and ephemera will be on display in the entrance to Blackburn Central Library, referencing the industrial heritage of Blackburn and Darwen.

Throughout September, normal library opening times
Unique artefacts from Darwen Library's history are on display in the library for the first time since they left the town more than 100 years ago.  When Scottish-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie funded and then opened Darwen Library in 1908, the people of the town presented him with the freedom of the borough in an ornate casket and a ceremonial key to mark their gratitude.  These were taken to Andrew Carnegie's Scottish residence after the ceremony, but are now back on display in their native town after they were generously loaned from the Carnegie Birthplace Museum in Dunfermline, Scotland.  Don't miss the opportunity to see these while they're still here.  A small display will be added in the foyer and exhibition room of the library, with additional information about Andrew Carnegie and the opening of Darwen Library, during the Heritage Open Days festival dates.

Coming soon...Children's Literature Festivals
coming to Darwen as well as Blackburn

We are delighted that for the first time since 2019 we're going to be able to have a live Children's Literature Festival this year, and it's bigger and better than ever because this time we've been able to plan some sessions at Darwen Library thanks to generous funding from Darwen Town Council and Rotary Darwen, as well as the usual sessions at Blackburn Library.  The festival will mostly focus on school groups, but there will be an opportunity for the public to get involved too, at a community evening on 5th October at Darwen LIbrary.  Come and hear Michael Bradley talk about his time in well known band The Undertones, as well as rapping with Donovan Christopher and hearing authors Dan Worsley and Christina Gabbitas talking about their work.  The evening starts at 6.30 pm, and the suggested donation for attendance is £7.50.  Tickets can be booked in advance at

Further dates available for free
children's online creative writing workshops

"The Future 2050".  We are working again with literary arts organisation Read Now Write Now who are running more free online courses for children to write stories about what they think life will be like in 2050, thanks to funding by Arts Council England and support from local library services.

These Zoom based courses are for children age 9 - 11 years, and will run for 4 weeks.  Led by author Charlie Lea, young writers will be guided on how to write amazing stories, looking at top tips and lots of literary devices and techniques to help on the way.  These stories will then be displayed online, in libraries, recorded and presented onto YouTube and Spotify and there will be an opportunity to read out stories at a special storytelling event.

To join, simply choose one of the courses to attend:
  • Tuesdays, 5 - 6.30 pm, starting 6th September 2022 for 4 weeks
  • Saturdays, 2 - 3.30 pm, starting 10th September for 4 weeks
Contact to book on a first come, first served basis.  All sessions will be delivered via Zoom.

September Spotlight titles from BorrowBox

As usual, BorrowBox will be increasing the availability of a select number of titles this month, which means that people won't have to reserve these titles and wait for them to be available.  Reading groups can also use them, as they'll all be able to read the same title at the same time.  The increased availability of these particular titles is only temporary though, so if you've always wanted to read or listen to the following, now's your best chance:

eBook and eAudio available:
  • Peter Ackroyd, Mr Cadmus (crime & thriller)
  • Tahmima Anam, The Startup Wife (general fiction)
  • Kate Bromley, Talk Bookish To Me (romance)
  • Anders de la Motte, End of Summer (crime & thriller)
  • James Herriot, All Creatures Great & Small (autobiography)
  • William Goldsmith, Pizza Detective (children's fiction)
  • Sheila Newberry, The Meadow Girls (family saga)
  • Ambrose Parry, A Corruption of Blood (historical crime & thriller)

eAudio only:
  • Catherine Alliott, Behind Closed Doors (romance)
  • Enid Blyton, Naughtiest Girl in the School (children's fiction)
  • Caitlin Cady, Heavily Meditated (wellbeing non-fiction)
  • Lindsay Clarke, A Prince of Troy (historical fantasy)
  • Will Dean, Dark Pines (crime & thriller)
  • James Patterson & Candice Fox, Fifty Fifty (crime & thriller)
  • Evie Wyld, The Bass Rock (general fiction)

Regular library events
Blackburn Library
  • Mon, 2 - 4 pm, IT drop-in
  • Tue, 10.15 - 11.45 am, "Tuesday Reading Group"
  • Wed, 10 am - 12 pm, IT drop-in
  • Wed, 10.30 - 11 am, Read, Rhythm & Rhyme
  • Wed, 1.30 - 3 pm, IT course (see schedule below)
Darwen Library
  • Mon, 10 am - 12 pm, "Darwen Library Crafters"
  • Mon, 5.45 - 6.45 pm, Reading group (12/09 only)
  • Tue, 1.30 - 3 pm, "Darwen Library Larks" (see below)
  • Wed, 2 - 2.30 pm, Story & rhyme time
  • Thu, 2 - 4 pm, IT drop-in
  • Fri, 10.30 - 11 am, Story & rhyme time
  • Fri, 2 - 3.30 pm, IT course (see schedule below)
  • Sat, 11 - 11.30 am, Story time, colouring & puzzles
Cherry Tree Library
  • Mon, 2 - 3 pm, "Brew Time"
  • Tue, 1.30 - 2.30 pm, Seated Tai Chi (book via Age UK)
  • Wed, 10.30 - 11 am, Story time
  • Wed, 11 am - 12 pm, "Brew Time"
  • Wed, 2 - 3 pm, Reminiscence session (07/09 only)
  • Fri, 2 - 4 pm, "Knit & Natter"
  • Sat, 10 am - 12 pm, LEGO club (03/09 only)
Mill Hill Library
  • Tue, 2 pm, "Brew Time"
  • Wed, 11 am - 12 pm, Reading group (07/09 only)
  • Thu, 10 am - 12 pm, IT drop-in (08/09 only)
  • Thu, 11 - 11.30 am, Story time
  • Fri, 10.30 am - 12 pm, "Craft & Chat"
Roman Road Library
  • Mon, 5 - 7 pm, Youth group
  • Wed, 12 - 2 pm, Craft group
  • Thu, IT drop-in, 9.30 - 11.30 am (29/9 only)
1. Darwen Library Larks is a community choir which meets in Darwen Library Theatre.  Cost is £5 per session.

2. The following IT courses are offered this month.  Advance booking is required (please contact the relevant library):  
  • GMail Basics: 02/09 (Darwen)
  • Using the Internet: 07/09 (Blackburn) 09/09 (Darwen)
  • Introducing Ancestry: 14/09 (Blackburn) 16/09 (Darwen)

News from partners
Pre-loved school uniforms available

An average school uniform costs £150, Blackburn and Darwen Youth Zones have teamed up with local CIC Rummage Rescuers to help those who may be struggling as a result of the cost of living crisis.  If you have good quality school uniform items which no longer fit your children, you can help them by donating at Blackburn Youth Zone, Jubilee Street, Blackburn, BB1 1EP, at the Rummage Rescuers shop, 18-20 Town Hall Street, Blackburn, BB2 1AG or at the Rummage Rescuers warehouse, 67 Canterbury Street, Blackburn, BB2 2HT.  If you need help to access school uniforms, please email
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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