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LoveReading Library of the Month #18: Exeter Library

Charlotte Walker

By Charlotte Walker on 19th February 2020

Exeter Library is maybe a part of a larger county-wide charity, Libraries unlimited, but it still manages to offer an amazing space filled with books, resources and opportunities that help to establish it firmly at the centre of the local community.

Tell us about your library and the area it sits in.

All Libraries in Devon and Torbay are run by Libraries Unlimited, a new and independent staff and community-owned charity, established in April 2016. We are a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. Our formally registered name is Libraries Unlimited South West.

Exeter Library is open seven days a week and receives an average of 1,500 visits a day. The library has over 1km of shelves containing over 60,000 books, CDs and DVDs which can be issued at any of the self-service points. In addition, the library has a reserve stack of approximately 150,000 items, available on request.

There is a large children's library overlooking Rougemont Gardens and a separate teen area, as well as 34 computers which are free to use for up to 2 hours per day and printing and copying facilities.

Describe your library in three words

Busy, inclusive and welcoming.

Apart from plenty of reading material, what other services does your library offer?

Exeter Library is also home to the Business and Intellectual Property (IP) Centre, where you can access information and attend business events and workshops to support your business or start-up. The library also houses the first FabLab to be located within a public library in England. FabLab Devon is a community creative space that provides access to a range of digital equipment and machinery.

If you were to become a character from a book for the day, who would it be and why?

Willy Wonka -  I would love to own a chocolate factory and also would to be able to look after the Oompa Loompa's. Also, I love purple.

What’s been the biggest surprise about working in a library?

You never have the same day twice, from enquiries to events, every day is different.

What are your top three must-reads?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, The Novel Cure by Ella Bertroud.

What is your favourite book from your childhood, and why did you love it?

The Naughtiest Girl in the School by Enid Blyton. I was quite a mischievous child and I loved seeing the scrapes that Elizabeth got herself into. 

Why are libraries such a vital link in our communities?

We are open to all, we are inclusive and non-judgemental we can provide impartial signposting to other organisations. We believe in the unlimited potential of library services across the UK to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through the shared love of reading and access to a wide array of information and facilities. Starting with our operation in Devon, we are taking a new approach – re-imagining library services and adopting a new social enterprise structure that allows us to innovate to support our social goals. Across all the areas in which we operate, we aim to bring ideas, imagination, information and knowledge to people’s lives and communities, providing inspiring spaces and supporting learning through a variety of resources, support and events.

Keep up to date with Exeter Library 


Twitter: @exeterlibrary

Facebook: @ExeterLibrary

If you enjoyed this, why not read our other Library of the month features?

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