We entered the library through a modern glass automatic door and then discovered that there was an old entrance at the front of the building. From the front this library reminded me of Croydon Central Library, a red brick gothic style, with a new interior behind the façade.
This library building was originally opened in 1924 and is a “Carnegie library” (built with money from the Carnegie Trust). It was then refurbished in 1994. However, upstairs they have retained the Northgate reading room in the original style which felt very grand. It had lovely solid desks, and bookcases, a vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows – you can even get married there. I can see how it would be a wonderful place to study particularly if you wanted a studious environment with some gravitas and history. It was packed with people and I felt I couldn’t intrude and take a picture.
As I had my two daughters with me I spent most of my time examining the children’s section. There was a really extensive collection of teen and young adult literature. There was a junior novel sections and “Grabbit books”. Lots of displays of books to tempt people and there were plenty of items we wanted to take home.
I was also impressed that they still have a dedicated music and drama section with enquiry desk. Admittedly, nobody was at the desk on this Friday morning but the main customer service desk was a long low inviting desk so I felt I could easily approach the staff there.