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Poet laureate reopens library that survived council cuts and Covid

Simon Armitage gives reading at Abington Community Library

The Poet Laureate Simon Armitage gave a reading of his work at Abington Community Library today to mark its official reopening.

The event was streamed live due to Covid restrictions and featured a selection of his poems touching on subjects as varied as love, writing, a sense of place and Boaty McBoatface.

As well as signalling a return to lending books in the Abington area, the reading also formed part of Armitage’s ongoing Laureate’s Library Tour.

“I am not much of a ribbon cutter and anyway there isn’t a ribbon and anyway I haven’t brought my scissors but what I have brought to mark the reopening is a bottle of Laureate’s Choice Sherry,” he said.

Armitage explained that by tradition the Poet Laureate is rewarded for their work with Sherry and he has been donating bottles of his chosen vintage to the libraries he has been visiting.

Find out more about Abington Library here

“Some of them have been raffling them to raise money, others have been having a tipple in the staff room afterwards. You can do with it as you please but you will have to sanitise it before you can touch it,” he said.

Abington Library was one of the many axed when Northamptonshire County Council’s finances crashed. People in the area refused to let the service die out however and rallied to create a community library, taking on the service that the county could not provide.

After going to great lengths to meet the service requirements and getting the library functioning again the pandemic struck and Armitage’s visit represents a fresh start for the amenity.

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