One of the features for which our Institute was always renowned was its extensive library of books for access by members which started in 1833. It was a resource rarely afforded to working men and women, and inspired by a Quaker stance relating to educating the masses, which wasn't a uniformally popular idea at that time.
That original collection, which would have been quite priceless now, was long since removed, and it might be felt to be an old idea of little value in the high technology age where information can be gathered at the click of a screen. But we're not so sure - not all useful knowledge has made the transition to the digital realm.
In 2022 we reached an agreement with the Friends of the Darlington Railway Museum to become permanent custodians of their collection of books when the museum at North Road was being redeveloped. These were catlogued and added to our own collection in the MacNay room. The collection has been further added to through donations from members of the Institute and other members of the public.
The collection focuses on the world's railway story with sections dedicated to our local railway heritage, the Stockton & Darlington Railway and that of the British railway regions. There are also books on the history and heritage of Shildon and the surrounding villages.
The library operates on a reference only basis and can be visited by:
The attached document is a searchable .pdf showing the latest view of our catalogued collection of books.