I like to pop in the library in any town or city that I visit, so that I can comment on whether or not I’m happy with their selection of books. Another one of my little services to the local community…..
What a lovely welcome. There seems to be a substantial proportion of books in foreign languages, more than I’ve seen even in libraries such as Stratford in Newham when I lived there (in Newham I mean, I didn’t live in the library). I did like though that the library offers free online courses to learn foreign languages for those who are library members, which I think is a nice mixture of things.
I’d say that these opening hours are somewhat inadequate, for anyone who works nine until five on weekdays then they’re going to struggle to ever get here. Closing at 15.00 on a Saturday and being closed on Wednesdays and Sundays really isn’t ideal. There’s a comparison possible here between Reading in the United States (which is named after this town) and Reading in the United Kingdom, with the latter having the twice the population. Despite that, the central library in Reading in Pennsylvania is open from 09.00 until 21.00 on Mondays to Wednesdays, from 13.00 until 19.00 on Thursdays, from 09.00 until 17.00 on Fridays and Saturdays and from 13.00 until 17.00 on Sundays.
The library goes over the Holy Brook river channel.
I went to the second floor and noted that the local history library opened at 11.00, and since it was 10.55 I meandered back to the first floor selection of books. It seemed adequate and there was plenty of seating available.
On getting to the local history library, I think it’s actually open earlier and it’s just the specialist collections at the family history section that open at 11.00. Either way, this is a very decent collection of books, plenty of local history reference books and also some to be taken out of the library as well. Nearly no-one came up to the floor during my time in the library, so it doesn’t seem to be the busiest section in the building, but at least that will stop bits of the collection from being stolen.
My first impressions might not have been the best, but I was pleased in the end that it was a peaceful library which seemed organised and well stocked. Oh, and most importantly, they had a Pevsner.