Out of court
SIR, — I feel that we owe it to local people to explain that, much as we would have liked to, it has not been possible to hold our usual annual Bookfair at St Albans Town Hall during November and December. A change in district council policy means that we
SIR, - I feel that we owe it to local people to explain that, much as we would have liked to, it has not been possible to hold our usual annual Bookfair at St Albans Town Hall during November and December. A change in district council policy means that we are no longer able to use the Old Courtroom at the Town Hall. For many years we have used our extensive contacts in the book trade to bring together a massive range of new books at greatly-reduced prices. Local people enjoyed the opportunity to view the books in this historic setting. The Bookfair had become part of the St Albans calendar and apparently the most popular event held at the Town Hall.
Despite having to close our shop in Holywell Hill, we had very much hoped to continue with the Bookfair and to develop it into something quite special. Ideas included running book-related events during the Bookfair, including visits by local and national authors in conjunction with St Albans Arts - STARTS, who are working hard to develop other events in the rest of the Town Hall. We also intended to stock a wider range of books with a special emphasis on local ones. Last year we introduced portable oak shelving to improve presentation. Furthermore we felt that the substantial rental income from the Bookfair would have paid for maintaining the Old Courtroom throughout the year.
Unfortunately the district council has decided to only use the Old Courtroom for "filming and educational purposes", which apparently excludes our Bookfair. Sadly the Old Courtroom now stands empty and forgotten for most of the year with limited access.
We would like to thank all those who have supported the Bookfair including many thousands of people from St Albans and the surrounding area, local businesses, St Albans Tourism and Tourist Information and St Albans Arts (STARTS).
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Perhaps people who miss the Bookfair will encourage the district council to relent and let us back next year.
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Paton Books, St Albans.