At the start of December, the Guardian ran an article that showed as part of an annual survey that sharp cuts to local authority funding have led to the close of almost 800 libraries since 2010.
The annual survey of UK libraries, excluding Northern Ireland, is carried out by The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa). The survey revealed that there are now 3583 libraries still open in the UK, which is 35 fewer than last year. Since 2010 a total of 773 libraries have closed, against a backdrop of a 29.6% decline in spending, with the number of paid librarians plummeting alongside the number of branches.
It's more important than ever to show some love to your local library and here at LoveReading we want to support as many as we can with our Library of the Month feature, drawing more attention to local libraries and the additional unique features they offer their communities and the hardworking team behind each space. If you know of a Library that we should feature, let us know and they could appear in our monthly series!
The final Library feature of 2019 is Parkstone Library in Poole, Dorset. The library is a stunning building with a lot of past lives and is now a busy community hub for people of all ages!
Tell us about your library and the area it sits in.
Parkstone Library is an interesting and quirky building with a history dating back to 1899. Its past lives include time spent as a Council building, Fire Station for horse-drawn engines and a reading room. It is situated in an area of Poole, Dorset, known as Ashley Cross, in the suburb of Parkstone. At the centre of ‘the village’ is Ashley Cross Green which is surrounded by many independent shops, restaurants and cafes.
Describe your library in three words.
Welcoming, Fun, TARDIS
Apart from plenty of reading material, what other services does your library offer?
Public computers, knit & knatter, adult scrabble & board games, reading groups, French conversation, computer buddy, monthly community coffee morning called 3C’s club, monthly local councillor surgery, monthly win on waste recycling event run by Ideas2action. Children’s craft mornings, toddler storytimes and baby wriggle & rhyme times, lego club and homework club.
We also hold additional one-off events such as seated pilates, adult craft sessions, author talks, local interest talks and information sessions, charity fundraising coffee mornings.
What is the strangest book-related question your team has been asked?
Do you have a book about roundabouts in the local area? The person had had an accident & needed to fill out the insurance claim but couldn’t remember exactly where the accident had occurred! Google maps to the rescue.
If you were to become a character from a book for the day, who would it be and why?
Mary Ingalls from The Little House series because as a child crossing the plans in a wagon seemed so exciting and far removed from my own childhood experiences.
What’s been the biggest surprise about working in a library?
Variety, Variety of tasks, variety of people, variety of requests and questions and that they are no longer the quiet spaces of old that I remember as a child.
What are your top three must-reads?
Frenchman’s Creek by Du Maurier
Room by Emma Donoghue
The Snapper by Roddy Doyle
What is your favourite book from your childhood, and why did you love it?
Beatrix Potter, loved the illustrations and the scrapes and adventures the characters got up to.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-Roald Dahl. The first book I really read by myself and the book I have re-read with my children.
Why are libraries such a vital link in our communities?
Free access for all in a friendly, non-judgemental, safe environment. Something for everyone from cradle to grave. Contributing to the wellbeing and health of mind, body and soul. Life-long learning. Community Hub.
Keep up to date with Parkstone Libraries
Twitter: @BCPLibraries #ParkstoneLibrary