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Libraries We Love

Written by The Reader, 4th February 2012

Newcastle Library - one of the Libraries We Love

Today is National Libraries Day and to mark this occasion, we'd like to bring your attention to a feature that's been running on our website for about a year, but many blog readers may be unaware of: Libraries We Love.

The idea of Libraries We Love is to focus on the things to love about libraries, and not just in the UK but all over the world. So far we've featured this diverse selection, which offer something unique and brilliant in every case:

Walsall Central Library, UK

Stoke on Trent Library, UK

Burnley Library, UK

African Library Project, Africa/USA

The Travelling Suitcase Library (based in Leeds, UK)

Woodchurch Library, Wirral, UK

Halton Lea Library, UK

Oswestry Library, Shropshire, UK

Seattle Public Library, USA

Newcastle City Library, UK

Read all about why we love them on our website.

We've asked actor David Morrissey, who is interviewed in the forthcoming issue of The Reader magazine (issue 45, March 2012), to tell us about the Library (Libraries) He Loves especially for this feature:

I had spent many happy hours in Liverpool Central Library when I was growing up. And when I moved to London I couldn't believe there wasn't just one central place I could walk into. A tutor at RADA told me about the British Library reading room at the British Museum and I went to check it out. I had to fill in various forms and also get verification from RADA before being allowed in, but once I had my pass, there was no stopping me. I was amazed by the low lighting and green leather tops on the tables. The wood and brass. It was like some grand gentleman's club. It was different from Liverpool central library in design but the feeling of hushed collective learning was just the same. I now work a lot in the New British Library (not that new any more I grant you!) and am so thankful for its existence. When I travel up and down the country I often visit local libraries, it is never about the books they can provide, but the peace and calm they provide for my ever ticking brain. It's a place to totally concentrate.

If there's a library you love that you'd like to see us feature, please contact us and tell us about it.

2 thoughts on “Libraries We Love

I agree about Newcastle Library – it really is brilliant. I think they could go further though – I’ve just written a piece for The Camel’s Hump about how I think that just looking at books is a red herring. Yes, they are brilliant, and I am certainly not advocating forgetting about them, but for me the essence of a library is community learning.

Jen says:

Hi Alicia, thanks for sharing your link to your great piece for The Camel’s Hump. I share your view that libraries need to adapt for twenty-first century society – and I believe that reading should still very much be at their heart. A library, as you say, should be a community hub, a place for people to come to but also a place that can itself reach out to people who are unable to get to it: as well as meals on wheels, how about reads on wheels? One of our young apprentices could be out and about doing one-to-one reading for less mobile people, or running read aloud group sessions (do you know about our Get Into Reading project?) in care homes, hostels, foster homes as part of the library service. And yes, a cafe full of wholesome, healthy food (and perhaps the odd naughty thing), involving local volunteers in the baking? Pop and classical music concerts. Quiet corners for students. The possibilities are endless…

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