Bradford City Library

Bradford c Michael Taylor
(c) Michael Taylor 2014

The entrance to Bradford City Library is quite small but then there’s a much larger area upstairs.

According to Wikipedia this library opened in 2013 after it was found that the previous building housing the library was a fire risk and had asbestos in its walls.

The new library is situated on Centenary Square which has cafes, bars, a theatre, gallery and museum and the stunning town hall and other municipal buildings surrounding a mirror pool. Kids were playing football outside and a film was being projected on the wall.

It was a lovely complex, full of life even on a cold November evening.

The library reminded me a little of Brighton library, particularly upstairs, even though it is much smaller. I think it was the metal and glass stairs, grey carpet and the use of pale wood.

 

The children’s library has the reading hideaway chairs that are very popular. Only now that I am looking at my photos have I realised that the children’s area was decorated with underpants!

Even though it was Saturday and the library was closing in 30 minutes time there were still about 40 customers and 5 members of staff in the library. It also looked like there was an activity in the adjoining gallery – it was hard to tell where the library ended and the gallery/activity room began which I’m sure is a deliberate attempt to invite people into both spaces.

 

Grays Library

Grays (2)

The largest library in the Thurrock area is Grays Library. From outside, the building did not look appealing. I wasn’t sure the library was even in there. I could see it was the theatre and a sign for the registry office but it wasn’t until I got to the door that I could see an opening hours sign for the library and the museum.

However, once I was in the building a lovely warm garlicky smell was emanating from the café and the foyer area was lovely. I walked past the box office and to the back of the ground floor where there was an entrance to the library.

According to the internet there was a Carnegie library here that was built in 1903 but  this library was built in 1968 behind it. I don’t know when the original was demolished.

It was a Monday morning and there was plenty of staff and customers already settled in for the day. My overall impression of the library was blue. The carpet was very blue, the seats were blue, even the bulbs in the lights in the toilet were blue. The first bookcase I came across was labelled “misery memoirs” – so clearly the person who put that together was feeling “blue”.

 

The fiction and large children’s area were on the ground floor. A central wooden staircase led up to a mezzanine floor where the non-fiction material was held, more computers and then leading off to a computer room, local studies and the museum.

A nice community complex on the inside – shame about the outside.