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Partnering with the Library to tell its story

04 November 2022

BDO Guernsey has formed a partnership with the Guille-Allès Library to host a special exhibition taking place to celebrate its 140th birthday, bringing to life the remarkable story behind its origins.

Launching on Friday 4 November, Boundless Curiosity: 140 Years of the Guille-Allès Library is a free exhibition telling the story of Thomas Guille and Frederick Allès, childhood friends who emigrated from Guernsey to New York in 1832. Amazed by the libraries they encountered there, they resolved to return home one day and start one of their own. It took fifty years, but they finally made their dream a reality with the opening of the Guille-Allès Library in 1882.

The partnership is one of two great local institutions, as BDO Guernsey also celebrated its milestone birthday of 120 years in 2020.

BDO Guernsey’s support of the exibition brings to life Guille and Allès’s story using material from the Library’s archive, together with some original artworks by renowned local artist Charlie Buchanan. On display will be some of the treasures in the Library’s collection, including a copy of John James Audubon’s The Birds of America, one of the rarest and most beautiful books in the world.

When the Guille-Allès Library opened it was also a museum, with the contents of that collection now on indefinite loan at Guernsey Museums. This exhibition sees some of these items ‘return home’ for the first time in more than 40 years, including artefacts from Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, and the South Pacific.

As well as exploring Guille and Allès’s origins, the exhibition continues the story through the 20th Century, including how the Library survived during the Occupation, and highlights how the service has evolved in more recent years.

During this three-month period, the exhibition will be open free of charge to all, with something for all ages to see and do.

Richard Searle, Managing Director of sponsor BDO Guernsey, said: “We’re a local firm centred on people and ideas and it’s clear that Mr Guille and Mr Allès had plenty of ideas, coupled with ambition and a desire to better our island. That’s so inspiring and one of the main reasons we wanted to partner with the Library on this truly incredible exhibition.

“Some of the treasures that are going to be on display are astounding and this is such a great opportunity to learn about an unknown element of our island history. We’re extremely pleased to be involved in helping this exhibition to succeed, and I’d encourage everyone to get to the Library and learn its remarkable story.”

Boundless Curiosity opens on Friday 4 November and runs until Saturday 21 January. More information can be found on the Library website at