Meet the President of the Friends
Writer and President of the Friends of the University Library
As we all know, libraries are treasure houses: not just of books, large, small and often comely, but also of fascinating facts, inspiring ideas, cracking stories and beautiful thoughts.
The Philip Robinson Library is one such place – but with knobs on. The kind of library that illuminates the minds of countless young people but also finds the will and resources to preserve and curate a growing body of historical archive that speaks eloquently of our cultural past. This, in short, is an institution that deserves the very best of friends.
As you will see, being a Friend of the University Library confers all kinds of rich benefits, at a very moderate cost – the equivalent of a half-decent bottle of wine or the dubious pleasure of watching Newcastle United for approximately 30 minutes.
As the man said, what’s not to like?
History of the Friends of the University Library
The Friends of the University Library was established in 1955 when Newcastle University was still part of Durham University. The first President of what was then ‘The Friends of King’s College Library,’ was the Duke of Northumberland (Hugh Percy, 1914-1988), and our archive contains a copy of the inaugural letter signed by the Duke, canvasing for members. As the letter makes clear, the initial purpose of the Friends was to secure funding to help the Library enrich its collections of rare books, historical documents and manuscripts as “the income of the Library leaves little margin for the acquisition of such works.”
Over the years, the Library has benefited enormously from the generosity of the Friends, who have both gifted rare books and manuscripts to the Library and donated funding which has enabled the Library to purchase such items.
Whilst enhancing the Library’s Special Collections and Archives remains a core function of the Friends, there has always been a sense of community about the group and from its inception, the Friends has run a series of lecture throughout the year, culminating in the AGM and ‘Friends’ tea.
Here are some examples of resources which the Library has been able to acquire through the good offices of the Friends of the University Library.
Click on each thumbnail for more information.