09:00AM, Friday 04 October 2019
Libraries in the Royal Borough are a ‘joy that the council offers’ – but a service which large numbers of residents are not making the most of.
Misconceptions of eerily quiet spaces filled with rows of dog-eared books are keeping some people away from the 14 libraries the council maintains.
In anticipation of Libraries Week 2019 starting on Monday – celebrating the role of the facilities in the digital world – library staff are keen to debunk these perceptions, particularly as the area’s libraries are offering a wide variety of reading material online.
All people need is a library card and an app.
Dan Howick, reading development and library promotions officer, said: “If you’re travelling, commuting, it’s all just there for you and all you need is a library card number and you’ve got access to several thousand newspapers, magazines, e-books and audio books as well – people don’t know about it.”
He added: “It’s everything you’d see in WHSmith which you’d spend six or seven pounds on but if you have a library card, which of course is free.”
For those who prefer to turn the pages of real books – the library strives to get new releases in – including books ‘being talked about in the press’.
Dan added: “We do have brand new books like Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments: the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, which is about the biggest literary event of the year, and we have multiple copies.”
Reading development and library promotions officer Jeanette Kemp added: “Obviously, of course, we have the classics and the books that we should have, but also there is that rolling stock of new stuff coming in all the time – in children’s and in adults.”
For those who want to discuss their latest read – there are the librarians.
Jeanette said: “It’s not just a big building full of books, it’s conversations about them.
“Sometimes people come in and say ‘I really like this book – can you offer anything else?’”
While the library has a calm and peaceful atmosphere, it is also full of chatter with rhyme time and story time sessions for youngsters, knit and natter groups and more than 60 book clubs.
For anyone who prefers a quiet space in Maidenhead there is the Nicholson Room for quiet study.
Jeanette said: “It’s a safe place, a place of learning, a place where there’s mutual respect and it’s free – it’s pretty unique really.”
“It is an excellent service,” added library supervisor Dalit Spitzer.
“This is an actual joy that the council offers.”
For some people a visit to the library is a more than just a pleasure trip, but serves as a space to tackle social isolation.
Dalit said: “We see a lot of young parents, mostly mothers, maybe English is not their first language, maybe they’re new to the area – this is a great way for young parents to socialise.
“There’s a play area – the children can play, or read a book if they want, but there’s toys there for them and parents spend hours there, literally hours everyday.”
Set over two floors Maidenhead Library is the Royal borough’s flagship service.
As well as books of every genre it offers the use of 16 public computers, a teenage area, access to Amazon lockers, daily newspapers, magazines and DVDs.
To find out more about the Royal Borough’s libraries go to www3.rbwm.gov.uk/info/200197/libraries
Go to the links below to find the apps you need to access the libraries digital offer, and to find out all the material you can download.
e-books and e-audio books
App - Libby or OverDrive (both apps have the same content provided by OverDrive - Libby is the newer app, OverDrive is the older version)
App - RBdigital (Recorded Books Digital)
eNewspapers and eMagazines
App - PressReader
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