Southampton Central Library was very impressive. It is a grand building within a civic centre including museums, a concert venue, the Guildhall, council offices and an art gallery and opposite a park. However, when you enter the library is has been recently refurbished and looks and feels very modern.
It’s all very curvy, even the edges of some of the bookcases are curvy.
The only downside of the layout is that I couldn’t find the stairs going up! However, I found the stairs going down.
I like this way of displaying recently returned books with the book covers facing up – there’s even a book there that I was currently reading.
I’m always interested in the study spaces on offer. There were lots of desks dotted around with feature reading lights and also private study rooms.
St Helen’s Central Library was a short walk from the train station as many libraries from the Victorian period are. It is situated in a pedestrian civic square in the Gamble Building (opened in 1896) although quite modern inside.
It has a lovely colourful, hard-wearing children’s area.
The library is very active within the community without having the benefit of an expensively refurbished or new building. St Helens Library Service is used as a case study by the government titled “The art of the possible: libraries as creative hubs” which includes an excellent picture of swimming in the library! In August 2016 the library was given a National Lottery Award for its cultural hubs team.