Held on March 25 from 10.00 until 18.00, visitors can buy books, all priced at €1.50, sample home-baked goods made by the more than 100 volunteers – and discover the library’s collection of 27,000 English-language books and e-books.
They can also register as a member, at €45 a year for adults, with reductions for students, families, teachers or retirees.
Calling itself ‘The library. The place to be’, it opened in 1993 after a professor at Angers University heard the American Library in Nantes was closing, leaving 20,000 books with no home. They were brought to Angers, where a library was
set up, with help from the Conseil Général, universities and the town, and became part of the American Library in Paris.
In 2002, the American Library decided all branches should be independent, prompting the Angers library to adopt a new name to reflect the influx of English-speaking people using it. It become the English-Language Library in Angers.
Visitors can join the book club or share a book they have enjoyed, while on Fridays members gather for a hot drink and chat. There are also conversation groups in English and French, as well as a film club, garden club, luncheon club, knit-and-natter, pizza and board games once a month, and a Shakespeare reading; not to mention activities for children and students.
Volunteers enthuse on its services. Aline Montgomery said: “We moved to Angers because we knew there was an English-language library. For the past 15 years, the library has provided a framework for our activities. It is amazingly vibrant.”
Gordon Cooke, who co-manages a library English conversation group in a town an hour from Angers, said: “It is a commitment, but it has helped with our integration into the community. My wife has been at the book club for 16 years.”
While Gaëlle Delarboulas said it was more than somewhere to borrow books:
“From its core, there are arms leading to theatre, music, cinema, travel, and above all, great friendship.”
Director Phoebe Marshall-Raimbeau said: “This is the ultimate win-win situation. Support community services while finding great books – definitely worth the drive from afar!”