TRAIN passengers in the North East might be hoping for delays after a library was set up in a train station.
Commuters are being asked to donate unwanted books or pick one up themselves from the library which will be in the waiting room on platform two at Hexham Station in Northumberland.
The library has been set up to mark rail company Northern Rail’s partnership with the Hexham Book Festival.
St Oswald’s Hospice in Newcastle gave the first lot of books – around 100 – to the library, which will be set up in the next two weeks. The donation contains biographies, children’s books and classic fiction.
Northern Rail PR manager Joselyn Rankin said: “We had a partnership with the festival last year, and the book exchange is something we’ve had success with at other stations. Commuters do appreciate having a book to read with them, and it’s also way of getting people interested in something that’s happening in their town.
“The library will be up for the whole of the festival so people can share their books, and if local people want to see it stay for longer we’d be happy to discuss that.”
Festival director Susie Troup said: “This new partnership has made a fantastic difference to our regional profile and it’s very exciting to know Hexham Book Festival is reaching train travellers across the North East.”
This year sees the eighth edition of the annual festival, which in total runs from March until the end of June, though the main event lasts from April 24 until May 2.
The bill includes authors Michael Frayn and Lionel Shriver, historian Dan Snow and former BBC war reporter Martin Bell.
Discussions will cover a whole range of topics, from the natural world to the lives of Charles Dickens and Coco Chanel being discussed by their biographers.
Bookworms can currently buy four tickets for the price of three, while Saturday sees the festival join with Hexham Community Partnerships Eating Festival and Spring Fair.
From 10.30am to 3.30am in Sele Park – across the road from the Queen’s Hall – there will be a children’s marquee where under-10s can enjoy storytelling and drawing.
Festival co-director Gil Pugh said this new addition – and the use of Alnwick Playhouse for high-profile speakers – reflected the festival’s growing popularity.
She said: “Last year we had 3,500 over 12 days, compared to about 500 in our first year. Bookings are up this year and some events only have a few tickets left, so our advice would be to book quickly.”
The library will be up for the whole of the festival so people can share their books