Helpfully, we could see the library building from the road with “West Berkshire Libraries” on it. Outside there was a wonderful mosaic – although there were some improvement works that were worryingly close!
The design on the side of the wall in the entrance area was also striking.
The library is a modern building on two floors with the usual setup of fiction and children’s downstairs and local history and reference upstairs. Upstairs also had a well decked-out room that could be hired called the Carnegie Room.
I really liked the quotes on the side of the movable bookcases, although some were hard to read.
West Berkshire libraries was considering closing all its branch libraries in 2016.
Newbury library has views of the next- door canal and park and as this was a hot, summers Saturday in July we enjoyed an ice cream by the pedalos.
Sale Waterside is a very modern building which the library shares with the council and is described as a local arts complex. Although the building is great and I am in favour of these community hubs I feel that the library should have been given more space. Hubs feel quite odd at weekends when the council facilities are all abandoned but the libraries are still open. However, further along the building is the local theatre and art gallery and a restaurant and a pub. Waterside stands on the site of the old civic theatre and town hall and has preserved some of the original features.
There was a well stocked library shop in the vast entrance area, but then moving into the library area the ceilings were comparatively low adding to a feeling of “squashedness”.
The library had plenty of stock and patrons and included the local studies library and a children’s area. It even had a replica of an old shop in a corner.
There were several displays up and I thoroughly enjoyed the women’s suffrage one as I am working on a similar display in my library.
I had to take a picture of the penguin in the foyer as I love penguins. Apparently it was part of a summer public art project in 2016 created by Two by Two Hurrah.
Apparently, Wolverhampton has had a public library since 1869. This attractive red brick building was designed by Henry Hare, chosen through a competition. It opened in 1902. It was built on the site of an old theatre and has a corner location giving it quite a presence. Inside there is a central staircase with two rooms off the ground floor (adult lending and the children’s library) and two off the second floor (reference library and learning centre).
There were wolf statues about town and one in the library entrance called Meditation by Nigel James Kilworth. If we’d had time we would have done the trail and spotted them all.
Both the adult and children’s libraries are full of book stock which I like to see.
The children’s library was nice and had some tablets attached to a frogpod where we saw a small child playing. That little girl had to be dragged away by her mother when it was time to read. My 11 year old then had a go – happily ignoring the signs that said they were for under 5s. At the back of the children’s library there was a bank of PCs for older children.
I love this poster promoting the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals. I saw it in two libraries that day. I follow the Carnegie award and buy up all the shortlisted books for my eldest to read. It’s wonderful to be able to buy a whole batch of books that you know are good quality – they have librarians’ seal of approval. I love seeing it promoted.
I couldn’t initially find Wigan’s library and was wandering around the block. When I actually came upon it from behind I was so surprised by the huge modern building that I swore under my breath when I realized it was the library.
It’s a vast community hub – Wigan Life Centre – on 4 floors incorporating many community resources including a credit union, council services and housing advice. Organisations such as Age UK, Carers UK and the Royal British Legion use it as their local base and a swimming pool and gym is housed in the complex too.
It was hard to see where the library began and ended but that may well be deliberate. Although I found the entrance a little bewildering and I could have done with a map or clearer signage.
There was a vast amount of book stock and plenty of seats, desks and study spaces in varieties of locations and computer terminals and charging points for laptops and devices.
The colour scheme was mainly grey and wood but with some vibrant chairs and art work, displays and collections. There was plenty of light and inspiring quotes on the walls.
The square outside has a sculpture called the Face of Wigan by Rick Kirby and it’s called Believe Square. Apparently this is to do with sport but I am going to hijack it and think of it as believing in the power of knowledge….