DOWN MEMORY LANE The library wasn’t just a place to read and work...

Libraries are facing a tough time with the current cutbacks, with several in danger of closure or reduced hours.

That got Eve Jeffries, of Singleton, thinking.

She writes: With so much speculation on the future of local libraries I thought back to pre-war days and times spent in the Chichester library.

As a schoolgirl, the library was not just a source of books, it was a haven and a great excuse to get out of the house and meet friends.

Several days during the week my friends and I stopped off on our way home from school to support each other with our hated homework.

The small library was on the top floor of the Butter Market and had large tables between the shelves.

Tucked away from the few adults there at this time between four and five we could gossip happily and make a pretence of working. Mr Chapman, the popular tolerant librarian, would interrupt us only if we raised our voices. We loved him.

There was another, slightly more compelling reason to be there. Our current favourite boys would join us without the likelihood of our mothers seeing them – they went to Boots library where they got all the new novels on subscription.

It may seem odd now, but there were very few places where boys and girls could mix, especially in winter.

There was a club for boys but nothing for girls. We could meet at a few socials, mainly church ones, not too popular with boys.

Our parents may have wondered why League of Nations meetings were so popular – nothing to do with world politics but a chance to meet the latest good-looking attraction.

To be 15 and 16 in those days, with no coffee shops, clubs or after-school activities, was really frustrating and a lot of guile was needed to get out – and the dear old library gave us plenty of excuses and lots of book borrowing!

* When you were growing up, how did you manage to escape your parents’ attention and meet up with boys and girls? Let us know your wizard wheezes!