DID you know that over 1,000 librarians volunteered to go overseas to man (and occasionally woman) libraries at the front during the First World War?

Have you ever wondered that your love of reading may have started with an ancestor who went to war a non-reader but came back a reader?

These and other questions will be explored at Hope Community Library on Saturday (November 10).

The Great War was famously described as “long periods of boredom punctuated by brief moments of terror” and to break up that boredom the British people provided books by the million.

It all started the night after the war was declared when Mrs H M Gaskell lay awake wondering how she could best help in the coming struggle. Remembering that during a recent illness reading had been so helpful she realised she wanted to provide books for the sick and the wounded.

The call for books was the first appeal of the war and to the surprise of the organisers the overworked volunteers were soon unable to keep up with the unexpected volume of gifts. After sorting through they ended up with more than a million books – the start of the War Library for the wounded.

Then the men in the camps being trained and at the front started asking for books – this became the Camps Libraries. The YMCA got involved also providing libraries.

It was said that “wherever the troops go the huts of the YMCA spring up in the midst of them; or if you notice no huts it is because you are in the danger zone, and the YMCA is carrying on its business as usual in dim cellars under shattered houses or in convenient dug-outs among the trenches…. there is always a library.”

To find out more visit Hope Community Library, Fagl Lane, to see the film and displays on Libraries at War as well as the Trenches Top 10 Reads, war diaries and a Royal Red Cross (equivalent to the VC but awarded to nurses) on Saturday, 10am-4pm.

More more information www.facebook.com/hopecommunitylibraryflintshire