Story: Liz Searle
Burngreave Library is busy on the Wednesday afternoon when I visit to speak to Janet Ring, the librarian. People are using the computers, children are reading and there are lots of enquiries at the desk.
There’s more to the library than books, as I find out. Burngreave Advocacy offers advice and support, and Somali translation, from the Community Room next door on Monday mornings. Baby Time involves singing, stories and crafts for under threes from 10-11.30am on Mondays (see dates). The Feelgood Reading Group, where you can discuss a book over coffee, meets monthly on Monday afternoons. Wednesdays see a coffee morning, and English Conversation Clubs held at 10-11am for women, 11am- 12pm for men.
Burngreave Library has a lively, friendly atmosphere and I suggest to Janet that it is different from the traditional idea of a library as there are so many more activities on offer. She agrees:
“If people want to work in silence they can use the Reference Library in Central,where you can hear a pin drop. We have everything in one room, so it’s much more vibrant.”
“We get enquiries about anything and everything,”
“For example, today we’ve been asked about where to find courses, exercise classes, the Citizenship Test”
The librarians can signpost people on to different services in the area and notice boards in the entrance offer even more information.
“If there’s anything people want to know, they just need to ask! No need to be scared – we’re all friendly!” smile Janet and her colleague, Rashid Ahmad.
Looking around, I spot a children’s area with books for all ages, non-fiction (to help with homework!) and magazines such as The Simpsons, The Source, Black Hair and Mizz. There are books for parents, and enormous books to share. A recent addition is dual language books in many languages.
The adults’ section is similarly impressive, with displays of new and themed books: Quick Reads, daily newspapers in English, Arabic and Urdu, several types of fiction and categories of non-fiction including entertainment, health, biographies, the Black collection and Large Print collection. You can take home up to fifteen books and five CDs or DVDs, or sit reading at the table or in a comfortable chair.
And with new opening hours on Saturdays, the library looks set to become even more popular. Look out for Saturday events coming soon!
“I wouldn’t want to work anywhere elsethere’s a real community feel here.” Janet
“It’s good, the staff are friendly and they can get the books you want. >I’m starting the Six Book Challenge today!” Aman
“I come after school to read books and magazines. My favourite kind of book is fantasy.” Maryam
“I have just moved to the area and came in to ask for information because libraries are the best place to find out.” Mustafa
Monday's 10.00– 11.30am
The next dates are: 9th and 23rd February, 9th and 23rd March, 27th April.