My favourite building is a library

Thursday November 1st, I visited my favourite building in the town where I live the library, Bargoed library is so busy with happy things and events going on and also are other libraries throughout the Rhymney Valley and this good and positive. I left with 3 books and decided to walk the long way home. The side of the graig, parallel and looking down on the Cwm Darran Trail. The light was stunning from the downing sun and the colours mesmerised me to inner peace, I truly do live in a wonderful area.


As I walked home I remember the time when I found  my local library at the bottom of the Grand Avenue near the Cowbridge road, Ely, Cardiff. I had just taken my younger brother Sean for a ‘Boston hair cut’ at the local barbers, when I noticed a building that looked like a big shed but with a front door. I pushed open the door and before me were all the books in the world waiting for me! I rushed my brother back home and ran like the wind to my new best friend. Aged seven scabby knees and tied mark neck I skipped to the oak counter and stammered to perfection at the Dragon librarian. “Ca ca ca can I I take take a book out?”    She told me to be quiet and pointed to the silent sign so I whispered “Ca ca I I take a book out?” She replied “No you need your mother’s permission” I gushed “Mam wont mind she wants me out the house” The dragon blew smoke and tutted and in her claw was a card for my mother to fill in. I did not want the librarian to know I had to wait for my mams happy mood to come along. Every day for nearly 2 weeks I asked to join the library. I thought in my infinite wisdom if I asked many times she might give in and let me join. Alas my mams happy mood came back and I joined and have belonged to a library for 50 years! We were poor we never had books we had the ‘Beano’ and the ‘Dandy’ at Christmas time but these annuals were shared between me and my 4 siblings.

The library was my saving grace.  At school my hand writing and spelling was atrocious yet aged seven I had the reading age of a thirteen year old. I would read anything I simply devoured books . At home I have four bookcases full of books and to this day I still do not own a kindle and never will!

Libraries are wonderful buildings full of knowledge. I used the library to study for my O levels and A levels. I also read poetry in my local library and in Cardiff central library, recently read poetry at the Handpost, near Newport, at the Cwtch, and the Cwtch was once a library too. Today Bargoed library and other libraries throughout Rhymney valley are not so quiet, they are full and brimming with happy things, wonderful events and children’s laughter. Our great-granddaughter Paisley aged 22 months, attends Bargoed library on a Friday.

Did you know?

Libraries known as the Miners Institutes were once the pillars of working class communities across the Valleys and helped to bring knowledge and education to those same communities. Miners’ institutes were a staple of villages across the Valleys at the turn of the 19th/20th century which were built using the contributions of miners themselves. Learning buildings for those who were not so well off.

When did you last visit a library?


“In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.” Mark Twain

2 thoughts on “My favourite building is a library”

  1. Hi Julie, your blog brought vivid memories of my first encounter with the Library. It was housed in a splendid building in Dock St Newport, and shared the space with the Natural History Museum and Roman Artifacts. It was in the 1950s, and on Saturday mornings my sisters and I would walk the short distance to the Library….for a warm. Most of the kids went to ABC Minors Club at the Olympia cinema at the top of Dock St. I recall we never had money to go, so we settled for the Library. The smell of the books, the shushing of the Librarian, and the sharp teeth of a Pine Martin will always remain, when I think of the Library. I also continue to read, and like yourself, will never own or wish to own a Kindle. Your mention of Bargoed also stirred thoughts from way back, Bargoed was a stopping point for the bus from Newport to Rhymney, my journey ended at Brithdir. Thanks for opening my memory box.

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