I shall be collecting my World Book Day copies of Rebecca from the library in Kettering, where I live. The library has been in the local news recently because a £1 million restoration campaign has been launched, which will include restoring the building’s original parquet flooring.
I know that the library is a beautiful and impressive building. What I didn’t know is that it was originally funded by American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie - he of New York’s Carnegie Hall - when he donated £8,450. Fancy that!
I didn't know that Carnegie ploughed some of the millions he made in the American steel industry into building 2,500 free public libraries in the UK, the US and Canada. In May 1904, he broke his usual practice of anonymity by opening Kettering Library in person. During the official opening ceremony, he issued and stamped the library's first ever loan - a copy of his own book The Gospel of Wealth. It just goes to show what interest stories there are to be found under my nose.