Tameside Central Library in Ashton under Lyne, Greater Manchester, is in an old Victorian building with the library downstairs and an art gallery upstairs. According to the web the building was once a school.
The art gallery upstairs was particularly lovely. The library was shabby but I was told that the service is moving soon. The foyer and flooring were very grand. There was an old booth in the reception area that reminded me of a box office and made me feel like I was entering a theatre.
The main library room had a red wrought iron mezzanine floor. The book shelves on the mezzanine looked largely empty but there were students studying at the desks.
I loved the “Blooming Good Books” display with copies of book jackets growing on the tree. The children’s area looked colourful and inviting and had some children playing in it.
Along a corridor there was a separate reference reading room and two computer rooms. There were signs to the adjacent local studies and archives centre. Even the large print stock was in a room of its own. I can see how this building requires a lot of staff but I am disappointed to read reports that the number of qualified librarians will be cut after the change over to the new service.
There were other signs of under-investment such as a ventilation or heating grate that was making an awful racket in a corner. As I usually comment on the chairs I have to point out how threadbare they were at Ashton.
I look forward to seeing the new library service when it has moved and I wonder what will become of this building.