Submissions Now Closed

April 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

This site was set up by a group of writers in Newcastle (UK) who wanted to highlight the value of libraries following the announcement by Newcastle City Council in late 2012 of plans to cut 10 of the city’s 18 public libraries. The campaign to save the library service in Newcastle was partially successful, with 5 of the 10 libraries earmarked for closure being kept open.

At the time of writing (April 2013) Newcastle College are offering to run the other 5 libraries and we hope that Newcastle Council see fit to taking them up on their offer. Visit to keep up to date with the latest.

This site was set up and maintained by writers Terry Dobson, Marie Lightman and Stevie Ronnie. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the 63 writers who contributed to the site and the readers that have visited (over 5000) in the short time that the site was open. We are glad to have played a small part in helping to preserve some of the library services for future generations.

This site has been archived by the British Library as part of their UK web archive project.

Submissions to the site are now closed.


Margaret Holbrook

April 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

The Library

Scent of wood polish, that and a no nonsense librarian,
Bredbury library and Miss Jackson I recall.
‘Shhh, can you be quiet, please?’
then, ‘and who does this dog belong to?’
I turn, it was Polly, she was mine.
From then on I’m positive I was viewed
over lowered glasses and always with
‘a bit of a look’.
Undeterred and minus dog, I read
and kept on reading.
Other libraries too, toyed with my affections.
Stockport – never seen a ghost.
Bolton – library, museum, aquaria – elephants?
Are they still on the tickets?
Bury – a very special place. Just off Silver Street.
Poynton – books, events, coffee mornings.
Yes Miss Jackson, coffee mornings in the library.
How awful would that have been?

Tony Topping

April 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

My Dad encouraged my reading, he always had his head in a book, and I joined the junior library in Wigan as soon as I was old enough. This was the first place other than home that I really loved and it was situated on Station Road. A fine red bricked building packed with children’s books from wall to wall on the ground floor. Dark brown polished wooden flooring that creaked as you went scouring the shelves and librarians who would raise an eyebrow and give a scathing look at every creak. It felt like heaven to me and I was a regular little bookworm with my 3 books every week or so. The library later incorporated a Children’s Museum but the only thing of any interest I can remember was a large fossil trapped in coal.

My fellow booklover was Tony Lowe a lifelong friend and I can still remember us walking home on pitch black winter evenings when we were only 8 or 9yrs old. Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were snatching kids from the streets of Greater Manchester at the same time and every dim lit corner in Wallgate brought the spectre of Hindley beckoning us into her van with Death sat back in the shadows with his manic grinning skull.

Moira Conway

April 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

A Night at the Library

It has to be dark for the party to start!
Small lights start to glow
As the library books throw
Shafts of moonlight down onto the floor.

With squeals of delight Noddy slides down his beam
With the bell on his hat ringing out to his team
The Famous Five join him with cheers and hurrahs
And Lightening McQueen is leading the cars
They were searching for Wally when up popped his hat
He’ll spend all night hiding this place and that.
Here come the Wombles with sacks full of rubbish
The librarians gone now need for hush.

Willy Wonker has chocolate he wants to share
Rupert and friends will soon be there.
Jolly Roger the pirate has brought his cutlass
To fight his way Through The Looking Glass.
C’mon Pepper Pig and Tombleboos too
Wake up the others there’s playing to do.
Hooray for the Umpas who lumpa and sing
Join the Hobbit and Elf to help find their ring.

Aslan makes a big leap so pleased to be free
For The Ice Queen is trapped in the wardrobe you see.
Peter Pan and the crocodile sit down for a tick
While The Young Magician shows them a trick.
Here comes Dora exploring again
First by Bugie the Copter then off by train.
Anne of Green Gables has come in for a chat
With The Chalet Girls, Annie and The Cat In A Hat.

Fairies and Princesses, Jack Horner and Humpty
Join the Trumpton band playing rumpety tumpety.
Popping out of his mill Windy Miller has buns
He made us a lot for our hungry tums
The Dwarves are hey hoing and Beauty’s awake
Buttons and Ciders are looking for cake
Peter Rabbit has carrots and Potter some pop
To The Secret Garden now off you hop.

Superman rescues the cat from the Well
And Hans Christian Anderson has stories to tell
The Mr Men Tickling and bumping around

Join Tracey Beaker playing in the dumping ground
The Owl and the Pussy Cat look for the sea
The Doormouse, Mad Hatter and Alice have tea
So come and join Bagpuss and Thomas train
Open some pages and join in the game

All day they tell stories to children for fun
Now it’s their turn to jump up and scamper and run.
For tomorrow as day breaks the librarian comes back
Turns the key In the lock and takes out her lunch pack
They’ll climb back on the shelf and wait patiently
For children to find them and unlock the key
To read and enjoy turn the pages and see
The magic of reading for you and for me.

Toad Danby

April 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

A Northeastener who may fight and die amongst the bravest soldiers, sailors and flyers, to save the honour, liberty and dignity of this island
May raise the common enemy of dictatorship, cruelty and poverty to the ground, to save and liberate the countries of strangers
Shall Build Bridges
A Northeastener who may be king of his castle, so long as he builds it in air
May go to the devil with his dreams, hopes and prayer
May not mine his God given land
May not build the world’s greatest ships
May not fish the North’s own sea
May not put unbegrudged bread on his children’s table
May not save himself from sorrow that’s his unbuilt tomorrow
A Northeasterner who may not have a library where his history may be read
Shall leave only words on cenotaphs and epitaphs when his race is pronounced dead

Grame Fletcher

April 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

(A message from your caring Government)

Close the library, lock the door; what do you need a library for?
Whatever you’d go there to get; it’s better via the internet.
You can find the things you want: select the language, choose the font
Google what you want to know; right click to get a new window:
The Lady and the Unicorn? Choose from tapestry, tune, or porn.

Buy a kindle or a Nook, if you want to read a book,
if you’d rather hear some stuff: I bet you; i-Tunes has enough.
You like to borrow works of art? Print from the web: click ‘add to cart’.
The library gave kids games to play? Play on the net, 24/7, any day.
The library was a place to chat? There’s forums on the web for that.

Libraries are unhealthy places; folks breathe germs on others’ faces
if you really wannabe fit you’d better stay away from it.
Bacteria lurk in every tome. You’re safer if you stay at home.
At home there’s nothing you can’t do; it’s all there on the web, it’s true
you can get a web-based job; stay in bed, become a blob.

With a keyboard and a mouse you’ll never need to leave your house
from toilet rolls to vintage wine there’s nothing you can’t buy online,
you’ll never need to step outside to make a friend or find a bride.
Have them delivered to your door; I ask you: who could ask for more?
You want to gaze into folk’s eyes? With Skype there’s nought the web denies.

The virtual world has all you need; real people are a threat indeed.
You can’t afford to get connected? Oh, really? That is unexpected!
You must have been extremely rash to squander all your daddy’s cash.
Oh, please don’t expect sympathy- why can’t you poor folks be more like me?
At Eton and at Brasenose too, they said I should be nice to you.

When times are hard, for we, who’re fatter, we tighten our belts: it’s mind over matter,
Let me reassure you: we’re not unkind: you don’t matter, we don’t mind,
please, just face it; you’re not like us, we never travel on a ‘bus
we’re made to lead, and you, to follow: your stupid protests: merely hollow,
between your libraries and the holes in the road, what matters most to Mr Toad?

You take much more from me, than you give. What is, d’you think, your right to live?
It’s only ‘cos you have the vote, I said; “We’re all in the same boat.”
Anyway, don’t just blame me – it’s your Council: can’t you see
they’re responsible; we’ve passed the buck – it’s them on whom you should sling your muck
the other lot are just like me: not Brasenose, but Corpus Christi.

The Internet’s a better place, for you to criticise disgrace:
we monitor each word you type, you Tweet, or Facebook, or you Skype
the notions that you come to hold from libraries can’t be controlled
words can be whispered into ears that spark unauthorised ideas
so close the library, lock the door. We don’t want it any more

Moira Conway

January 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

Library Preservation Society

(Sing to the tune of “this is the self preservation society” from “The Italian Job”)

This is the library preservation society
This is the library preservation society

Go wash your claggy hands, your grimey face too
Comb your shaggy hair we got a lot to do
Put on your swanky shirt and your Dad’s best tie
Cause time’s a hurrying by

Get your skates on Pete, get your skates on Kate
No ipod round your neck today, eh?
Walk your big flat feet to the library seat

This is the library preservation society
This is the library preservation society

Gotta get a friggin move on
Yabadaba yabadaba
Gotta get a friggin move on
Yabadaba yabadaba
Jump in the car drivin straight
Hurry up mate
– don’t wanna be late
Get your sister
Get your brother
Up for a fight
Gotta get a flamin move on

Library preservation society
This is the library preservation society
Put on your wooly socks and bother boots
Brush your teath and wear your bestest suit
Lots of lads and lasses you hear
Look alive and get over here

So get your skates on kidda, get your skates on our kid
Theres a rope around our necks today
Grab a book before they take them all away

This is the library preservation society
This is the library preservation society

Joan Johnston

December 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

I Borrowed One Day in the Life of a Boy from Tibet

and when the due date came round I took him back and renewed him. I renewed him every Saturday for weeks, carried him home the same short way I’d come – Benton Road, Weldon Crescent, The Spinney – until one Saturday the librarian said he was reserved and I had to return him. Someone else, a child I didn’t know, was waiting to find out all about a boy my age who herded yaks, ate tsampa and lived on the Roof of the World. My nomadic friend in a colourful hat belonged, I learned, to everyone.

Tom Kelly

December 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

What He Knows

He followed someone and by mistake
ended up in the library-
he was shocked.
He had never been in a library before,
the only book at home was a rent book.

He was embarrassed.
Didn’t know what to do,
should he pay?
Does he have to ask to leave?
He’s led out like a bear on a lead,
returned to the street,
to what he knows.

first published in Their Lives, from Tears in the Fence (1995)

Piers Cawley

December 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

A Child of the Library

I’m a Child of the Lib’ry, it made me who I am,
It taught me about freedom and the fellowship of Man
A sea of story waits for you behind the lib’ry door,
Don’t say we can’t afford them any more.

The Lib’ry’s where I made some friends I’ve known my whole life through
The Walkers and the Blacketts and the Pevensies so true.
Simp the canine cannonball, Galadriel the fair.
The daughter of a pirate king and Paddington the Bear

I’ve travelled South with Shackleton and all his gallant crew
And to the African interior that Mary Kingsley knew
I’ve rode the trackless prairie where the bison used to roam
An travelled round the Universe, not half an hour from home.

And as I grew the libr’y fed my curiosity,
All there for the asking. All of it for free.
It’s there I found the stories that I couldn’t find at home.
It’s where I learned I was myself and not my father’s clone.

So make friends with your library, don’t let it fade away.
Teach your kids the lib’ry’s where you go on Saturday.
Don’t let the bastards tell you they will cost to much to save
While they’re shovelling our taxes down the hole the bankers made

So make a stand for the lib’ry. Stand up while you can.
Stand up for your freedom. Stand for your fellow man.
Ignorance is never bliss, don’t close the lib’ry door.
For a lib’ry lost is lost forever more.

Lyrics © 2011 Piers and Gill Cawley
Music © 2011 Piers Cawley