To represent North Somerset council libraries I opted to go and see the library at Weston-Super-Mare which is called The Weston and is based in the Town Hall. The library and other council facilities moved to the revamped town hall in late 2012. The library seems to have most of the back of the ground floor with council offices on the floors above.
On entry to library you come to this very attractive, open, atrium-like, central area with a large circular map of North Somerset as built into the flooring. The designers have zoned the areas of the ground floor very effectively using the bookcases and different carpets and colours. There’s a good variety of seating, like the large sofa in the picture below. There were lots of customers reading and studying and particularly lots of people studying at the desks along the windows.
The stack ends were colourful, attractive and clear. There was lots of book stock and I noted self-issue machines, water coolers, vending machines, a teen library and a security guard. The staff were in uniform.
When it first opened, the Town Hall and the Library were open until 8pm on weekdays but the hours were reduced in 2018 due to low visitor numbers.
However, according to a local newspaper article in 2016 the library books at The Weston are “overworked” – they are older and borrowed more than average library books in the England. The library budget has remained stagnant even though the local population is increasing and more people are using the service.