For National Libraries Day 2013 Celebrate My Library embarked on a ‘London Orbirail’ of libraries spanning the route of the newly extended london over rail. The aim: to join in with each libraries National Libraries Day activity and generally discover why people in each library love it so much… simple right? Well almost…
We started at Clapham after a tour from manager Andrew we got chatting to the early birds who were in the library shortly after opening.
Seeing JoJo, and her fantastic drawing, and (with help from her dad) discovring she loved her library for Maisy book was a great start to the day. It seemed the peace and quiet of Calpham was the main reason people flocked there (at least at 9am on a Saturday morning!), and we can see why with all the individual study spaces and reflective areas.
Unfortunately we could not hang about and shot off just behind schedule to Carnegie Library.
With some seriously dodgy directions and a bus going the wrong way we eventually made it to Carnegie Library (by now very behind schedule). However what a treat we found. Neither of us had ever been to Carnegie library… and were blown over by the whole place. It is a serious contender for most beautiful library, and the staff, visitors and Friends of Carnegie Library we met there were just amazing (more videos to follow…) Some fantastic response to our love libraries questioning and tea and biccies delightfully provided by the friends topped off a great library stop off.
Next were two whistle stop-photo ops for Peckham and Canada Water Libraries. Southwark Libraries were focusing their efforts on the upcoming World Book Day so had no events on, but both these new and impressive libraries slotted in nicely on our route.
Crossing the river we hit Shorditch who had a free book give-a-way for National Libraries Day, and we had a chat with a studious revision club, who told us that they love the wifi and study space.
After a much needed pit-stop in the perfectly positioned Starbucks at the bottom of Dalston’s CRL James Library we were ready to get card making! Another library neither of us had previously visited, we loved the ‘chill out’ teen area, with several people curled up with a good book in, and the separated Children’s and under 5’s area allowing for a great range of kids activities, with no noise disruption to the rest of the library. Whilst the flavour of the day for card making was valentines day we decided to go for Happy National Library Day cards… with varying quality of results (Hilary’s infinitely better than Victoria’s pitiful glitter bomb).
Leaving our cards with the library we shot off through the drizzle to find our way further north…
Entering the unknown for these two south londoners we travelled across the top, unfortunately having to miss Kentish Town Library due to earlier directional difficulties (10 became 9). Stopping for another photo op at West Hampstead Library we made it back on schedule to Kensal Rise Library.
Dispite the slightly grim weather Kensal Rise Library pop-up library was an amazing and inspirational example of where there is a library will - there is a library way. With ready made answers to our ‘love library’ question it was things such as ‘free words’ and the sense of discovery books bring that keeps people coming back to this pop-up.
We couldn’t find any one at the pop up library, but we left them a love heart, letting them know that we popped by to say hi!
Finally, and slightly wearily, we got to West Brompton Library. And it was the perfect end to the day. The tardis-like library, with tiny un-imposing entrance, gives way to a bright vibrant space, with staff and library users to match.
We were introduced to the Octonauts courtesy of William, who loved the library computers and found out people loved their library for the smell of books, poetry and magazines.
All in all it was a fantastic day. I think the main thing that we learned from the day was that the staff in libraries bring such incredible enthusiasm and joy to these spaces. Where there is keen, engaged and excited staff, the library users seem to follow!
(Then we went to the pub and had a cracking pint!)
Thanks again to everyone who helped out during our #NLD13 marathon, with special shout-outs to Clapham, Carnegie and Brompton Libraries for being to enthusiastic and welcoming :)