If you were to be asked what you think of Hull’s public libraries right now what would you say? writes Dawn Woodmansey.
Would you be one of the people to declare your lifelong love affair naming the first book you ever took out? Or would you lean more to the side of “never stepped in one, why would I?” Let’s suspend the judgement that Kindle trumps book and Netflix beats DVD. Let’s download the latest version of the library and see what you think.
First off, are you into music, creative writing, playing chess, films, surfing the net, talking to people from other countries? Are you setting up a business? Are you housebound and need your books and films sent to your door? If not, no fear this is just a small sample of the activities you can expect within libraries now. I spoke to Vicky Gillham who described Hull Libraries as her favourite cultural venue. Here’s the top 5.
- The MakerSpace a brand new cooperative space on the top floor of Central Library with the latest equipment. Make anything from T-shirts to the latest innovative designs, 3D printing, woodworking, glass and pottery, sewing and embroidery, jewellery making. The main purpose of it is to support entrepreneurship and business. They’ve really thought through a huge range of quality equipment for our city needs. If this is for you, get down for your free induction session, and see if the subscription fee suits you.
- Conversation Cafe is a meet up for people from other countries to improve their English. I stumbled across the group one tea time and had one of the best laughs in ages as Jorge (George in English) relayed a Faulty Towers experience on unwritten rules of social conduct and the hilarity of English politeness. Though I only know one language and that’s English, unlike one of the guys who’d stacked up about 6, you’ll be welcomed in wherever you’re from.
- Events – Vicky told me about – ‘Ships in the Sky’ where she met the architect of, and former DJs of Romeo and Juliet’s, of the home of iconic ship mural on the old BHS building. Regular programmes feature the arts and music that you won’t find anywhere else.
- Home Library Service – this service can make a huge difference for those of us that are at home and struggle to go out. If that’s you then you can enjoy the latest books, films and music by having it delivered to your home. It’s free too. Residential homes are also catered for with the usual items you can loan within libraries.
- Is it for you? Vicky is not only a lifelong fan of libraries, she is also a teacher who relies on the safe environment as a place to teach kids who’ve been excluded from school. This gives us our final reason to go through the doors of the library and that is – it truly is a space for everyone.
One other thing that’s worth noting is that whilst other libraries round the country have had to close their doors, Hull has kept everything open. This shows us how much work Hull Libraries have done. Not only have they done a super-style job of re-inventing, they’ve resisted the government cuts that have seen so many services close. All our main hubs are operational and thriving along with the beautiful smaller libraries and gardens. Get in!