Jesmond Library then – 1963

What are your first memories of going to the library?

My first library ticket was a small piece of pink card. It gave me the freedom of the children’s section of Halesowen Library. I read my way through the narrow room – from the low wooden boxes of picture books by the entrance to the teen fiction of the Sweet Valley High series on the back wall. I remember my mum trying to stop me daydreaming in maths lessons by asking the librarian to tell me I’d need to be good at numbers to get my dream job in a library. I remember the green leatherette seats and that The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole was always out on loan. I remember turning 14 and finally getting a ticket for the adult library with its carousels of Stephen King and Barbara Taylor Bradford paperbacks.

I still have a library card – popping in to my local library regularly to see what treasures I can find (most recently Dave Grohl’s autobiography and the latest Lisa Jewell thriller) and whenever I visit somewhere new, I always seek out the library. Whether glass walled or red-bricked Victorian, libraries are somewhere I feel at home in. It’s one of the reasons I’m so happy to be your writer in residence and why I’ve loved spending so much time here over the last couple of months.

Jesmond Library 2018

But what about your own library memories and experiences? As part of my residency and to celebrate the anniversary of Jesmond Library becoming entirely volunteer run, I’m putting together an anthology of writing about Jesmond Library and libraries in general. I’d love to hear from you if you have a piece of writing you’d like me to include. I’m looking for uplifting and positive pieces of no more than 500 words that are about Jesmond Library or libraries in general. You can write about your library memories or more recent experiences and you can send prose or poetry. Please note that your piece needs to be appropriate for readers of all ages and backgrounds and that, as editor, I might make minor changes to improve readability. If your writing is featured in the anthology, you’ll receive a free copy when it’s published in March 2023.

Send your writing to me by email ( by Friday 16 February 2024. And if you’d like some help to get started, I’m running a Library Memories Writing Workshop in the library on Saturday 9 December. The workshop is free to attend, but places are limited so you need to email me to book. If you can’t make the workshop, try one of the following writing prompts:

Think about the first library you remember visiting regularly. Write lists of what you remember seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting. Or draw a plan or picture of what this library looked like. Then write a piece about your memories.
Write a library haiku (a haiku has three lines – line one has five syllables, line two has seven syllables, and line three has five syllables).
One of the best things about libraries is discovering new and interesting books. Write about a book you discovered in a library and what it meant to you.
Try an acrostic poem. Write the word LIBRARY (or another suitable word or words) vertically down the left-hand side of your page and use each letter to start a separate line.
Libraries are about more than books and Jesmond Library is always busy with groups, courses, meetings, and volunteers. Write about something else that happens here.
Or you could just write ‘I remember…’ and see what happens next.

Please contact me if you have any questions about the anthology or to book your place on the workshop. I’m looking forward to helping you celebrate this very special library and what it means to the community.



Amanda Quinn is Jesmond Library’s Writer in Residence. You can find out more here.