A few years ago Rochdale Library Service was delighted to discover that it had been left a substantial legacy by a local couple Mr Frank and Mrs Annie Maskew for a collection of works of Literature & Philosophy. Monday evening this week saw the formal launch of the collection and the fruition of long-held dreams.
Frank and Annie Maskew who originally met in Rochdale library, shared a passion for reading and thinking . Annie, a long-serving teacher at the former Queen Elizabeth High School died in 2006, after leaving a bequest to the library service to be used on English literature and philosophy, to ensure classic works are available for future generations. Several of her former pupils attended Monday's launch and spoke movingly about the long-standing love of classic literature she had instilled in them. She had clearly been an inspirational teacher of the sort we might all wish we had encountered.
Rochdale Council has now recruited Suzi Heslan as project manager and launched an extended ‘Maskew Collection’ which includes literature & philosophy titles for adults and children together with CDs and DVDs. The collection includes prize-winning books alongside popular philosophy titles, and is being used as an opportunity to develop innovative new ways of using library services. Suzi has planned and begun a series of events including Philosophy Coffee and Classic Reads discussion groups. The week of November 21st sees a whole week of activity to 'Get Rochdale Reading' and in January there will be an event on Lord Byron's birthday, marking his understated links with the area.
Monday's well-attended launch brought poets and musicians together for a cool set of jazz and poetry from local writers, in a corner of the library where we were surrounded by the first books to have been purchased through the bequest. I'm sure the evening would have made Mr and Mrs Maskew feel very proud and it certainly felt like a beacon of cultural enjoyment and optimism amidst all the recent more gloomy news stories about the decline of libraries.
For more information about the Maskew Collection or to find out about more about planned activities please contact Suzi Heslan on (01706) 924 933