It is 100 years since the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie gave the city of Derby a grant to build a new library.
Pear Tree Library in Normanton was one of more than 2,500 built around the world and, just as the lover of books requested, it has remained a community asset ever since.
To mark this remarkable achievement the library in Pear Tree Road is staging a week of events to celebrate books, authors, poetry, story telling, photography and music – including a recital by two very distinguished poets.
Some events will be for pupils at local schools but most will be at the library and they will all be free and open to all but you will have to book a place.
The week is being launched on the evening May 16 with an evening of Punjabi poetry by poets from Derby, and story telling.
Among them will be Dr Sandeep Parmar, a senior lecturer in English Literature at the University of Liverpool, who will be talking about her family who lived in Normanton from the 1960s to 1990s. She will read some of her poems, and Kalwinder Singh will be telling the true story about a Doctor Who-loving Sikh Derby boy and his quest for happiness which is called My Father and the Lost Legend of Pear Tree.
The next day at 4pm folk singer Dave Sudbury, who grew up in Pear Tree Road in the 1950s will sing The King of Rome, a song he wrote about Derby’s famous racing pigeon who won a 1001 mile race from Rome to England in 1913. The pigeon which normally resides at the city’s museum will be at the library during the festival.
If you want to know more about the history of the library and how Pear Tree has changed over the years as new communities have settled in the city, then get yourself to a talk by Alasdair Kean from the University of Derby at 7pm on May 17.
There will be an evening of music and dance celebrating Eastern European communities on May 18, at 7.30pm; a chance to listen to story tellers in the Lyric Lounge on Thursday evening and a talk by Belinda Seaward author of The Beautiful Truth, a story set in the present day and wartime Poland about a woman’s search for her Polish father.
The main events of the centenary celebration take place on May 21 when the day will start with creative workshops for children and a performance by Shakti Arts who seek to promote Asian culture through traditional and contemporary Indian dance styles.
In the afternoon there will be carnival drumming and Eastern European contemporary folk music.
In the evening there will be a poetry recital by Dr Kunwar Bechain who is a critically acclaimed poet and master of the unique art or Ghazal. He was born and raised in India and has also composed lyrics for several major films. He is flying to the UK exclusively for this event so don’t miss it.
Joining him on stage will be the multi-award-winning Jai Verma, a Hindi writer poet and South Asian cultural advocate. She is poetry editor of Purvai Magazine, which is the UK’s only Hindi language magazine.
To close the festival there will be a poetry workshop and recitial with Dr Bechain on Sunday May 22.
For more details about all the events go to http://www.derby.gov.uk/libraries where you will be able to find an online brochure and a link to eventbrite.co.uk to book the free tickets.