Dedicated to the memory of Brigit Sanders, First President of TARS
The TARS Library was originally set up in 2000 with the aim of making a collection of books known to have been owned by Arthur Ransome. Fourteen years on, and with a large collection known as ‘Read as Ransome read’ acquired, this continues, but the Library has expanded to include many other categories. Here are some of them:
Books and articles by AR, including foreign editions
Books about AR
Books by authors with a connection to AR
A complete collection of titles in the Mariners Library series, many of which have introductions by AR
A complete collection of books which have won the Carnegie Prize for an outstanding work of literature for children and young people, starting with Pigeon Post by AR, and with each year’s winner added as it is announced
Books about the Lake District of AR’s time
Books about Russia in AR’s time there before, during and after the Revolution
Children’s books by other authors of AR’s time judged to be of a good quality
Children’s books by other authors with similar themes to those by AR, of his period
Children’s books published more recently whose authors have been inspired by AR, especially TARS members
The bibliography of children’s literature
Ransome had many interests, and so the first category includes a large variety of works. His reading is known about through:
- A list of the books which his widow, Evgenia, gave to Abbot Hall Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry in Kendal on his death.
- A list of the books which were sold, after AR’s death, to California State University, Fullerton, where many of them are still held in the ‘Ransome Collection at Fullerton’ in the Pollak Library, although some were subsequently sold on.
- The many titles mentioned by AR in his own books, especially the Autobiography.
- Most recently, all of AR’s diaries held in Special Collections at the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, have been transcribed by Margaret Ratcliffe, the first TARS librarian, and we now have a list of all the books he refers to in his diaries, as well as in some letters also held at the Brotherton.
Books and other material are acquired in different ways: some are purchased by TARS, many are donated by members, and some are on long-term loan from members of TARS. The Collection is now housed in rented rooms in a community centre in Dumfries, where the present librarian lives.
An annual Update appears in the spring issue of Signals, with details of acquisitions of the past year, as well as a list of ‘Wants’ for members to look out for. A simple author/title list is updated annually.
All members of TARS may borrow from the Library, by e-mailing the Librarian at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Other contact details are given in the regular publications of TARS.) The book or other item requested will be sent by post with a return address label, and all the borrower has to do is to send a cheque payable to The Arthur Ransome Society Library, or stamps to the value of the outward postage, when returning the item. Please make sure that the items are well packaged, and use strong parcel tape, not clear adhesive tape. Postage costs may not be as high as you imagine, as not all have increased along with the letter-rate, but please check the current rate and the weight/dimensions of the package.