Library celebrates 60 years
The official opening of Downend Library in October 1960
DOWNEND Library is marking a milestone this month when it reaches its 60th anniversary.
The library in Buckingham Gardens officially opened its doors to the public on October 15, 1960.
Group librarian for Downend Staple Hill and Emersons Green Neil Weston said: "The services it provides have changed a lot in that time.
"Six decades on, book borrowing remains our core business, although these days we also offer free computer use, printing, scanning and wi-fi facilities plus audio book and DVD hire.
"In 2017, overall opening hours were extended to seven days a week following the introduction of Open Access, (although this is suspended since the Covid-19 outbreak).
"Users can also now download eBooks, eAudio books, digital e-magazines/newspapers and eComics – something undreamt of in 1960!"
The library's 60th anniversary falls just after National Library Week, which takes place from October 5-10.
Neil described this year as "one of the most unusual years Downend Library has operated in since opening".
He said: "Although closed to the public during lockdown, staff continued to deliver books to vulnerable users.
"Since reopening in July, initially offering Click & Collect and computer services, from September these have expanded to include self-service borrowing again as well."
Downend, Staple Hill and Emersons Green libraries started to welcome visitors back from the beginning of September, enabling people to drop in and browse for the first time since March. Opening times are shorter than normal hours, with all libraries closing at 4pm.
The number of people using a library at one time will be limited, face coverings need to be worn and IT users are encouraged to book in advance to ensure a PC is free at the time they want to visit.
Council cabinet member for communities Rachael Hunt said: “I am delighted that our libraries are now able to welcome customers to browse and borrow again after what has been an extremely tough few months for everyone. We have carefully planned the re-opening and have taken into account the safety of both the public and our staff.”
Downend Library is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am to 4pm and on Saturdays from 9.30am to 12.30pm.
More details on opening hours are available online at www.southglos.gov.uk/librarychanges or by calling 01454 865022 between 10am and 4pm on weekdays.