Hereford Library Users' Group


Herefordshire has won its bid to take part in the DCMS Library Futures Project!

John Hitchin, our HLUG Chairman reports on the following:

1. The Libraries Futures project. You may recall that we agreed to participate in Herefordshire’s bid for this. I’m delighted to learn that Herefordshire has won its bid along with its partner, Shropshire. For information the bid reads:

“Modernising Library Services in two sparse rural counties Herefordshire and Shropshire Councils face many similar challenges not least delivering services to sparse populations in highly rural areas, but also a number of opportunities to create modern and effective library services. The two unitary authorities share a common approach and understanding in the delivery of services at a local level. Therefore, the project will consider the use of new models of service delivery building on both authorities’ experience in working with communities to deliver and improve services. The programme will look at a range of delivery and management options that will shape sustainable services, including the options of charitable trust status and neighbourhood run libraries. While these approaches are also being tested elsewhere this project will ensure that they meet the needs of predominantly rural counties and build on the innovation and best practice found in both authorities. The project is a joint partnership with equal weight given to both partners, Herefordshire Council being the nominated lead authority.”

On the face of it this does not do much for the prospects for the city library but we can at least lobby on the basis of a bid having been awarded and that we feel the need for our fair share.Full details of the projects can be found on both the DCMS and MLA web sites.

For further information click on:

At the same time, we can report that on August 10th. Ed Vaizey, the Culture Minister, officially switched on the first example of Vtesse Networks super-fast broadband service in the village of Birch Green, Herefordshire. Much of Herefordshire suffers from slow broadband speeds and this service will help to bring high-speed (40Mbps)services to homes and small businesses in isolated communities.

For further information:



Watchet town library – small is beautiful

Filed under: Local library news,UK Libraries — hlug @ 3:33 pm

Your editor has been exploring the West Country and had cause to stop in Watchet, a small Somerset fishing village on the north coast of the county. Whilst exploring the marina area, I came across what must be one of the smallest public libraries in the UK. Unfortunately, it was a Monday morning and the library was not open until 2pm but at least I could take a couple of photos of the exterior.  Here they are and I hope that this little library continues to thrive in the face of cuts which we all seem to be experiencing. I have since learned that this is not to be……..see below.

Watchet Town Library

It is reported that Libraries in Somerset are having their opening hours cut with one library being shut until further notice.

The decision was taken by Somerset County Council to close Bruton Library until further notice and also reduce opening hours at six further branches. The libraries affected are Castle Cary, Minehead, Porlock, Priorswood, Watchet and Wincanton.

All changes will be effective from the week beginning 27th September.

These decisions follow the freezing of vacant posts at Minehead, Priorswood, Watchet and Wincanton libraries.


Vancouver Public Library – relevant to Hereford?

Filed under: Libraries Abroad,Town Planning,Young persons — hlug @ 6:11 pm


Vancouver Public Library  

Despite having a far larger catchment area, Vancouver Public Library, opened in 1995, appears to be particularly relevant to the situation in Hereford . The busy Vancouver city library and the Federal Tower (government offices) are imaginatively integrated by a broad, glass-roofed promenade lined with small shops, coffee bars and boutiques (see photo ). The style and materials of the coliseum-like building are less strikingly modern than libraries we have featured previously, and it would fit comfortably in any British city centre where Victorian and Edwardian buildings are numerous.

Childrens' library

The architects, Moshe Safdie and Associates, and Downs Archambault and Partners, have designed the library as a rectangular glass box within an ellipse. The books and other materials are located in the central box, and in the outer shell of the ellipse are reading galleries accessible by bridges. Constructed of  pre-cast concrete forms incorporating crushed granite, it was completed in 26 months. The library occupies 7 of the 9 floors (32,236 sq.m.), the top two floors being leased by the Provincial Government for 20 years, thus allowing room for future expansion.

In 2002, the total stock of the central library was 1.2 million items – books, periodicals, microforms, videos and CDs. Each floor has a service desk with on-line, public access catalogue terminals and computers nearby. There are photocopiers on all floors, and also washrooms.

Level 1 houses the library’s technical services, where stock is purchased, catalogued and processed for the entire library system of 21 branches. The main entrance is  on Level 2  has the latest fiction and non-fiction; Level 3: social sciences, language and literature. Above these are: business, economics, science and technology; career and job-search information;  Canadian and international periodicals; history, government, fine arts, music; special collections, such as maps and historical photographs.Vertical and horizontal conveyors move books and materials around the building, and on upper floors the rolling stacks are accessible to the public.

Reading area

Bookmark, the library store, stocks items related to reading and writing,  greeting cards and students’ needs. Around Library Square there are cycle racks and 700+ parking spaces.

With acknowledgements to Vancouver Public Library,
A Self-Guided Architectural Tour, and to the Vancouver
Friends of  the Library.

Information provided by Joan Grundy and photos provided by D.C. Brown and John Faulkner

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