Public libraries have been all over the media in the last week or so, and you may have seen the piece on the BBC about a library in a pub.
Bizarrely, the headlines and summaries all seemed to be along the lines of ‘Can pubs replace libraries?’ – even though the interviewee made it very clear, several times, that it’s not an independently run library, but a bookshelf of tomes provided (and maintained) by the local library service. We library-types call this a ‘deposit collection’ – ie, we provide the books, deposit them in a place where they are going to be most useful to a group of people, they use / borrow / return them, and we maintain the collection, replacing books and updating them as needed. It’s not a new idea, but it is, I suppose, a relatively hidden one. So I thought I’d reveal it.
Westminster Libraries maintain more than 40 deposit collections around the City. They’re held in nurseries, residental homes, children’s centres, hospitals, youth groups, day centres, creches, service depots and even, until recently, a convent! Many are administered by the Home Library Service, for obvious reasons (that’s the bit of the library service that comes to you if you can’t come to us), but most of the other libraries also look after a few as part of their service to their local community.
In addition to the 40+ mentioned above, we also provide Chinese language book collections for Chinese Libraries across the country, and the Schools Library Service advises on everything that a school library could need – including providing the books.
Of course we want you to visit us, if you can, but we’re most interested in providing you with the library service you need, where you need it. The 24/7 Library, the Home Library Service, the Schools Library Service and the Chinese Library Subscription Service all work together, along with a wide range of deposit collections, to make that a reality.