Q. Where does a librarian go on a day off?

Photo of Old Smiths' Books on Manchester Street. Photo on Kete Christchurch.
Old Smiths’ Books on Manchester Street. Photo on Kete Christchurch.

Q. Where does a librarian go on a day off?

A. To a bookshop to meet another librarian.

Last week I was meeting a librarian friend I hadn’t seen for quite a while. I was looking forward to a catch up. We had a quick instant messaging conversation on Facebook to arrange the venue.

Where shall we meet?

What about Smiths Bookshop at The Tannery?

Sounds like a fine place for two librarians to meet.

So Smiths Bookshop it was, librarians can be very decisive people.

Smith’s Bookshop is a well-loved institution in Christchurch. It sells antiquarian books, secondhand books, new books, magazines, stationery and art supplies. It has now reopened in the new Tannery Emporium in Woolston. This was to be my first visit and I was looking forward it. It turned out to be a very satisfying outing for a number of reasons.

Being in the bookshop was a bit like being at work but without the responsibility. I love libraries, and have for a long while, so being in a bookshop is the next best thing. I could slowly enjoy browsing the shelves and could happily chat about any good finds.

North end of Cathedral Square
North end of Cathedral Square, 1980s.

Old and new postcards were on sale on the front desk. I always like to have a selection of good cards to send to family during the year so enjoyed rifling through the box. There was a postcard of Christchurch Square, round red buses were on the road and the Cathedral in the background. It reminded me of the wonderful historic image collection we have in the library. I can always find something that sparks my curiosity.

New magazines were spread on a table for browsing. I discovered a new magazine Flow an arts and craft magazine which I hadn’t seen before. It reminded me of one of my favourite magazines Frankie. I always look out for this in the library as it is well written, absorbing, and a good read. I thought this would make an interesting addition to the library collection so I made a mental note to ask them to purchase it, something easy to do through the library website.

There was a wide selection of architecture, renovation and textile books, providing inspirational ideas and motivation for all those repairs and rebuilds that still need to be done. These days  I try not to buy many books, am taking a more minimalist approach to life, so I noted a couple of good books and thought I would check to see if these were available on the library catalogue later.

My friend and I whiled away an hour in Smiths Bookshop, went on to browse the other new shops and ended with a much deserved sit down and cup of coffee. A satisfying afternoon for two librarians on their day off.

Call on the P.O.P.: 1902

View in our collection

If 176 High Street was the same then, this may have been the property:

View an image on Kete Christchurch

— — — — — We have digitised a rather splendid 1902 publication Tourists’ guide to Canterbury.