Crossing Borders

DSCF0479 cropped & resizedAs part of the Chepstow Festival, Chepstow Library and Chepstow Bookshop co-hosted an evening book event, ‘Crossing Borders’ with Julia Gregson International Best Selling Author, Alex Pownall Photographer, Anne Wareham Landscape Gardener and Writer, Jenny McLoughlin Paralympic Sprinter and Andrea McLean Mapping Artist.

These inspirational women gave a picture-led celebration of their diversity and achievement.


World Book Night 2014

World Book Night 2014 Chepstow Library

Chepstow Library celebrated World Book Night 2014 with local authors M R Hall, Julia Gregson and Maureen Lindley.

Following a panel interview and a Q & A session, customers were able to chat to the authors and get their books signed whilst enjoying refreshments provided by The Friends of Chepstow Library. 

A thoroughly enjoyable evening was had by all!

Book club to beat isolation

The new virtual book club aimed at beating isolation amongst older people was officially launched at Chepstow Library on Monday 17th December.

Local authors Owen Sheers and Julia Gregson lent their support to The Reading Company, run by Care & Repair Monmouthshire and Monmouthshire Libraries.

Julia Gregson launches

 The Big Lottery Fund-backed project targets older and vulnerable people in the rural county using telephone conferencing to form a discussion group about a chosen book. Four groups of around eight people will get together for an hour via a free phone call to discuss a book with sessions supported by volunteers.

Five of Monmouthshire Libraries staff have been trained to set up the telephone book clubs – Brett Smith, Susan Seeraj, Tash Harron-Edwards, Glenn Evans and Julie Warburton.

Shona Martin, agency manager for Care and Repair Monmouthshire, said: “Many people are affected by social isolation and loneliness. Age, disability, illness or caring responsibilities can create feelings of isolation and loneliness and whatever the cause, the person affected may be left feeling alone and disconnected from their communities, which can lead to depression and a serious decline in physical health and wellbeing. This project will help to boost self-esteem and confidence and consequently an improvement in physical health and wellbeing.”

Owen Sheers, author of Resistance, grew up in Abergavenny and was pleased to support the project. He said: “The Reading Company is an idea that immediately makes sense. It has the potential to make a really significant difference to people’s lives, it’s just asking to be spread across the entire country.”


Julia Gregson wrote bestseller East of the Sun and gave the project her seal of approval by officially launching it with the opening of a large pop-up book revealing The Reading Company logo.

She said: “Reading is therapeutic; it gives people a common ground, makes sparking up a conversation easier. Plus the escapism of a great story in itself gives people genuine respite from their day-to-day worries.”

Here’s what Owen Sheers had to say about The Reading Company.


Events at Monmouth Library

Monmouth Library organised an Easter Egg Colouring Competition which received plenty of colourful and imaginative entries.  Amanda Greave aged 3 and Karolina Florczak aged 6 were the lucky winners of an Easter Egg.

Monmouth Library was asked by the Three Counties Community Play organisers to attend sessions being held at Wyesham and Rockfield. 

Sue Wallbank and Eira Lewis went to Wyesham on Wednesday 11th April and Julia Greenway and Eira Lewis went to Rockfield on Saturday 14th April.  The sessions were a great success with the children enjoying story sessions.

Monmouth Library held a very successful World Book Night on Monday 23rd April with local author Julia Gregson joining readers from the local community and from reading groups who use Monmouth Library. 

Members of the Welsh Reading Group acted out Under Milk Wood which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

World Book Week

World Book Week was celebrated in style in Monmouthshire’s Libraries, with activities aimed at all ages.  Children’s author and screenplay writer Dan Antony visited Chepstow, Caldicot and Monmouth libraries to talk to year six children about his latest book “Rugby Zombies” and writing for the Tracey Beaker TV series.  At Abergavenny the entireLlanvihangelCrucorneyPrimary School came in costume to celebrate their World Book Day and while the older pupils listened to Dan the infants enjoyed some all action stories and a quiz.

Abergavenny Library took part in the I CAN Guinness World Record Challenge on St David’s Day to see how many pre-schoolers and others could be part of a UK wide singing of “heads, shoulders, knees and toes”.  Baby Rhyme Time regulars did the actions but all ages were invited to join in the singing and were rewarded with appropriate Welsh refreshments.

 At Chepstow World Book Day was celebrated in the evening when local authors Meg Kingston, Julia Gregson, M R Hall and William Ayot, town Councillor Hilary Beach and librarian Anja Brown read passages from their favourite literary works to a very appreciative audience.

At Abergavenny boxes of books arrived daily throughout the week as the library was one of hundreds across the UK signed up to celebrate World Book Night and act as a collection point for customers who had registered as Book Givers to collect the forty-eight copies of their selected title to present as free gifts to others.  On the evening of Saturday 5th March, six brave givers, including local storyteller Daniel Morden, read from their selected title to an audience of seventy people.  Performance poet Mab Jones made it an evening to remember in her own wickedly funny style.