Leicester Central Library was hiding under a lot of scaffolding but we found the entrance in the end.
This library is another Carnegie Library and reminded me of the old Croydon reference library – similar architecture, floor and doors. Built in 1905 it is arranged on two floors. It still has a lovely ceiling and there were busts in the windows.
The heavy old wooden doors are automatic which is handy but made us jump as you don’t expect Edwardian doors to open by themselves!
Reading the local press from 2010 (and the BBC here), the lending and reference libraries used to be in two different buildings but were merged to save money. That does explain the kind of squashed hodge-potch that has been created although on principle I do prefer reference and lending services to be in the same place. Hopefully in the future there will be the money to address the layout properly.
The children’s library upstairs was just a corner but looked inviting – what a bright and clean rug! And look Elmer Day was also celebrated here recently. It must be annoying for parents that it is upstairs but there is a lift.
The sign made it clear which material was upstairs but I didn’t find the stairs that inviting even though they were decorated.
Even though we were there 20 minutes before closing time on a Saturday it was still very well populated. But unfortunately it’s the kind of library where you have to ask for a key to use the loos. I liked the ‘newspaper bar’ – a long wooden worktop area with storage of old papers underneath and then the surface was ideal for reading broadsheet newspapers.
The @Leicesterlibrar twitter feed is worth subscribing to if you’re local.