Half a century celebrated at Great Yarmouth Library

A HALF century of making reading available to all will be celebrated at Great Yarmouth Library next Tuesday.

A HALF century of making reading available to all will be celebrated at Great Yarmouth Library next Tuesday.

Those hoping to celebrate the big day can do so between 9am and 3pm, with a range of activities on offer to keep visitors busy.

Between 10am and noon people can come and learn how to grow their own food in the library garden and take home a herb or vegetable plant.

Hilda Watson, a library member who has regularly used the library since it opened, will then cut a birthday cake marking the occasion, and refreshments will be available from 10am till 3pm.

Based on Tolhouse Street, the current site rose from the ashes of its predeccesor The Tolhouse Hall, which was bombed during a second world war air raid.

Built two decades after the bomb struck, during which time a similar service operated from shops on Hall quay, it continued a tradition which had seen a library in the town since 1886.

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More recently, the current site underwent a refurbishment in 2009, helped by a successful bid for more than �1.3m of BIG Lottery funding.

The overhaul to the two storey building allowed it to hold more books and a total of 42 computers, as well as creating purpose built rooms.

These include a children’s activity area, arts and crafts workrooms, a function room with a sprung floor for sports and leisure activities and two gallery spaces. The garden is also a new addition.

However, the theme of Tuesday’s celebrations will be strictly retro, with music, photographs, posters and newspaper cuttings from Yarmouth’s heyday as a seaside resort in the 60s.

James Carswell, cabinet member for cultural services at Norfolk County Council, said: “Not many libraries will have overcome such a devastating setback as being bombed to continue to serve local people.

“The fact that Great Yarmouth Library has done so and continued to reinvent itself and flourish at the heart of the community is a real testament to the determination and belief of its staff over the years.

“After being refurbished nearly two years ago, the building is a place of which the town can be rightly proud, especially since it was only with the involvement and support of the local community that the brilliant library building we have today exists.

It really is the epitome of what a modern library needs to be – versatile, comfortable and inviting, and responsive to the needs of its community.”

On the day, two members of the library’s weekly friendship group will also be giving French knitting demonstrations and inviting people to have a go themselves.

Norfolk County Council is currently asking for people’s views on changes to the opening hours of its libraries, including Great Yarmouth Library.

Consultation forms which give proposed options for new opening hours are available in all libraries or people can fill out an online consultation form at www.surveymonkey.com/norfolk-libraries-consultation. The deadline for responses is midnight on 13 June.

Anyone in Norfolk can join the library service for free. To find out more about local library services, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/libraries.