My first was Airyhall Library in Aberdeen. Apparently I would insist on carrying the books home myself, tucked under my arm, even though most of them banged against my ankles. Then came Saturday mornings at Epping Library, with a stop at the Golden Iris sweet shop on the way home. And Rock Road Library in Cambridge. And Glasgow University Library where the whole city was spread beneath you and the wind nearly blew you right out of your desk on the 8th floor. And Cambridge University Library which smelt equally of scones and desperation. And now Bibliothèque Chaptal and trying to explain to my son that you CANNOT check out the fire extinguisher. When I was little I PLAYED libraries with the date stamp from Dr Dad's desk. 15 years after that my 'career orientation test' came back ... librarian. And so now, when people kept asking about 40 ... insisting I must absolutely have something to "keep", the answer was suddenly very clear. I want a library. Or rather, I want to give other children what I had. Endless, free, reading. Space to dream and space to imagine. Books you never thought you'd like, and did. Books that made your eyes wide and your curls stand on end. Books that took you somewhere else. Books that made time stop and the future race ahead, beckoning.
Constructing a 'forever' library in Africa with 'Room to Read', the charity I already volunteer for, costs £13,000. I'll be honest. I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to raise this sum. But I will do it, in this, my year of 40. And I'm starting here, today. And the second part of this promise? Some time in my 40s I will visit that library. Sit down between the shelves and dive in. With all the other kids. And just get lost again in books.
Here, at so-called 'mid-life', it's the best gift I could give or have. Here goes ....

Updates 0

Raising money for

Room To Read

Room To Read

Charity Registration No. 1125803

Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working with communities, partner organisations and governments, we develop literacy skills, a habit of reading, and support girls to complete school.

Raising money for

Run by Room To Read

Charity Registration No. 1125803

Donations 46

Belated thanks for the wonderful Poetry Precription for my father and I, as well as the many goodies collected from your Message stand, last April! much love, Marilyn

Donation by Marilyn on 11/10/15


Dear Catherine, this is a donation towards the reading room and Thoko's New York poems. This will definitely be the first of many. Brilliant idea and bon courage, Patrick Smith

Donation by Anonymous on 31/08/15


+ £25.00 Gift Aid

Donation for Joanne's Birthday

Donation by Sue Greig on 26/08/15

Birthday prescription for Suzanne - just the best present ever

Donation by Rachel on 22/08/15


Thank you for a wonderful month of poems. Good luck with the fundraising.

Donation by Hannah on 21/08/15


+ £7.50 Gift Aid

Poetry prescription for sister - priceless

Donation by Nick on 20/08/15


poetry prescriptions for Sue & Sarah

Donation by Rachel on 15/08/15

For the thought and inspiration for my own Mother's gift. You continue to be just ACE!

Donation by Alison Marshall on 22/07/15


Belated Father's Day and tailored for my sister Hannah starting 20th July. hope the poetry keeps you sane over the summer!

Donation by Rachel on 14/07/15


Poetry prescription please for

Donation by Sybille on 22/06/15


+ £10.00 Gift Aid

Having so enjoyed receiving the Mother's poetry prescription, M & I are forward to giving it to Tony in celebration of Father's Day. A gift that keeps on giving! Can't wait to see that library built!

Donation by Helen Heywood on 21/06/15


+ £10.00 Gift Aid

Loved your poetry prescriptions so much - a daily gift that I would love to have in honour of an extraordinary dad. Thank you CG! Poetry prescription, Fathers Day, 2015 x

Donation by Kim Segel on 20/06/15


+ £10.00 Gift Aid

Thank you Catherine - for Father's day

Donation by Steph & Philippe on 19/06/15


We cannot wait to visit your library! xo

Donation by Sal, Greg, boys. on 19/06/15


Thanks for the mother's day poems - great idea!! - and good luck with the fundraising

Donation by kate on 30/05/15


My mother in law will love receiving the poems that you've compiled. Thank you for thinking of such a thoughtful way to raise money for Room to Read

Donation by Jane Bakey on 11/05/15


What a great idea Catherine, I know my mum will love receiving the poems!

Donation by Katy Debost on 10/05/15


So happy to be able to participate in this. Thanks for your offer - 2 Motherhood prescriptions. I can't wait for my Mom and sister to receive them.

Donation by Sharon Moore on 08/05/15


Hi Catherine, Nice meeting you today. Great way to celebrate your 40th!

Donation by Lauren Renaud on 05/05/15


Inspiring Catherine!!

Donation by With thanks and gratitude. B on 03/04/15

Thank you for a month of beautiful poetry, for all the inspiration and the hope that others will receive more gifts like this!

Donation by Jenny Ross on 31/03/15


A wonderful idea, expressed in wonderful words, from a wonderful person, whom I had the great privilege of meeting at a reunion event, and whose geniality and welcoming nature I can truly attest to.

Donation by Anonymous on 29/03/15


+ £25.00 Gift Aid

Mother's Day poem commission please!

Donation by Tim on 14/03/15


Mother's day poem commission please

Donation by Rachel on 13/03/15

beautiful project!

Donation by Anonymous on 12/03/15


Donation summary

  • * Online donations£3,716.50
  • Offline donations£0.00
  • Text donations£0.00
  • Total raised£3,716.50
  • Gift Aid£293.75

* Charities pay a small fee for our service. Find out how much it is and what we do for it.