Walsall Central Library

Walsall (2)

The entrance to Walsall Central Library is a modern glass box with stairs and a lift but the adult library is within an older building. There is also a museum on the site but it was closed for refurbishment (part of a £4 million overhaul to the building). The reference library and learning centre were upstairs with the children’s and adult lending library downstairs.

The marble sculpture pictured below, called Little Eva, is amazingly intricate. The inscription on the plinth says: Loti Scolpi, 1870. It was donated to the library in 1932. It is thought to be of Little Eva from Uncle Tom’s Cabin although some people think it is Little Nell or Alice in Wonderland. The library also has a locally painted bookbench.

These posters were heart warming.

Nice children’s library with a handy booklet explaining the classification system for kids.

The Walsall library service is struggling with budget cuts and closure threats – The Guardian, local newspaper Express & Star.

Dudley Library*

*Not to be confused with the Dudley Library in Buffalo.

Dudley Library doesn’t call itself a central library but it is the largest library within Dudley Metropolitan Council’s area. The library service is contracted out to Greenwich Leisure Limited.

I like the statue at the entrance which is similar to the one we saw in Walsall Library called Little Eva but I can’t find any information about his one. This was another bustling library on the Saturday afternoon we visited. It has lots of nooks and crannies, wooden shelves and comfy blue seating.

I really like the teen section situated on a mezzanine floor with a purple sofa. Fortunately I had a teen on hand to try it out.

The first floor had the local history and non-fiction stock. Nice, bright children’s library with a huge Elmer poster on the ground floor.

There’s a great tale on the internet about one of Dudley’s library books being returned to a library in the USA eight years overdue. Dudley let them keep it.

Luton Central Library

Luton Central Library is based in a large building with the theatre. Although it is quite an attractive building from a distance, the ground floor approach feels like a boarded up building because of the posters on a black background.

Inside there is a quick choice section downstairs and then the main library is on the first floor with a mezzanine second floor.

The library was not as full as other central libraries on a Saturday although the study tables were all occupied on the higher level.

Luton Central Library still has very good opening hours, open until 7 Monday to Thursday and until 5 Friday, Saturday and even Sunday.

Grimsby Central Library


Grimsby Central Library was built between 1966 and 1968 and is now operated by Lincs Inspire. The statues on the outside were made by local artist Peter Todd and called the Guardians of Knowledge. They look a bit forbidding to me. Apparently Google Map’s algorithm originally blurred out their faces in order to protect their privacy!

The Library was refurbished in 2013 and reopened in 2014 with its stock being condensed from the original 5 floors into 3. There was an attempt to get the building listed in 2011 and you can read the English Heritage Report.

Fortunately, various original 1960s features were retained such as the entrance foyer terrazzo floor and the hanging light fittings.

Inside it had a really nice feel.

The children’s area was small but had a whole bookcase of Polish children’s literature which I thought was lovely.


Warrington Central Library

Warrington (3)

I arrived just after opening on a rainy Saturday morning – but already several people had got in before me. The entrance has statues either side which I found quite grand.

The library is in an old building which they have attempted to jazz up. The sails suspended from the ceiling attracted my attention. I don’t know if they are just there for aesthetic value or if they serve to dampen noise, shield the sun or partition areas – either way I like them. The library has a big main area and then some rooms off it such as local studies and some reference material.

This the first library crime scene rug I had seen but I think these are quite popular.

The children’s library was a corner of the main room dressed and ready for the summer reading scheme.

According to the Borough Council’s webiste, Warrington had the first public library in the country, opening in 1848, supporting the town’s museum.

Birkenhead Central Library

Birkenhead (1a)

I’m afraid I feared for my life on the short walk from the station to the library. There was a family screaming at each other in one of the houses, with neighbours standing outside ogling. I imagined drug deals and hit and runs around the corner. However, I am a Soft Southerner so that was probably the issue.

The central library is in a very impressive building but is now cut off from the town centre. The library closes for lunch (on a Saturday) so I only had 10 minutes to look around as I didn’t want to be one of the people that needed ushering out and delaying the staff’s break.

The foyer was grand with a statue in it and grand doors off the sides.

Although inviting the library felt a little in need of investment. It was mainly a large open area – there was a separate computer suite and an information centre upstairs. The large children’s library was sectioned off by bookcases.

Birkenhead (10)

The back of the building seemed to be a curved wall which was impressive but must have been a nuisance for the carpenters!

Birkenhead (7a)

Off the middle of the wall were double doors to a lovely garden area. I’ve since researched this and found that it is a “pocket park” that opened in June 2016 set up with the aid of a grant: