Plymouth’s Central Library has been shortlisted for the Bookseller magazine’s Library of the Year award. It is the second year in a row that a Plymouth library has been up for one of the British Book Awards.
The Central Library, which moved to its current location in March 2016, has proved a real success, with a 52 per cent increase in visitors, a 14 per cent increase in issues and a 59 per cent increase in new members from the year before.
The library supports a wide range of activities. For children, it now runs three rhymetimes a week and a regular Chatterbooks reading group. Embracing the current trend to get kids into coding and digital making, it has two Code Clubs and a regular after-school session called Hello World.
There are also regular reading groups for adults including a monthly group for the visually impaired and Feel Better with a Book shared reading groups.
The weekly job club was so oversubscribed that a second session was recently started. At weekly gadget drop-ins, people can learn how to download free eBooks and magazines to their own devices and those who have never been online before can get help at a weekly basic IT session.
The Bookseller award is all about bringing books to readers and the library has had visits from a number of authors including best seller Ann Cleeves, Fairytale Hairdresser creator Abie Longstaff and local author and illustrator Emma Carlisle. Many familiar faces from children’s literature have also paid a visit including Horrid Henry, Peter Rabbit, Elmer the Elephant and the Gruffalo.
Councillor Glenn Jordan, Cabinet Member for Culture said: “It’s fantastic that the Central Library has been nominated for this national award. Staff have embraced the new location and have been key to ensuring that the new library is a success.”
To celebrate its first birthday the library is hosting a music event on Thursday 30 March. Live at the Library will include performances from the following local schools and bands:
10am: Brook Green Centre for Learning Rock Band
11am: Oakwood School Brass Band
1pm: St Andrew’s Primary Clarinet Choir
2pm: Pilgrim Primary School Choir
3pm: Police Choir
5pm: Sorry Not Sorry (local rock band)
6pm: Sods Opera (local folk band)