TWO libraries in Swindon celebrated birthday milestones yesterday. Moredon and Rodbourne Cheney Library celebrated its 40th birthday at its current site in Church Walk, after celebrating more than 60 years in the community.
Many of the guests were loyal fans who have been involved with running the library for many years.
Marian Dickson, 58, is a regular user of the library despite living in Haydon Wick and is a member of the book club.
She said: “ I think it’s brilliant to be celebrating 40 years because I started coming here when my son was 16 months old. “He’s now 30-odd and I’m still coming here. This is our library and there is a great community here.”
Jenny Selwood has worked in the library service for 43 years, and still volunteers at the Moredon and Rodbourne Cheney branch.
She said: “There are members of staff who have served here for years and are still volunteering, and it is a service. We wouldn’t do it if it was a good place to work.”
Library manager Michelle Fitz-patrick believes the real key to the library’s success is the tight community and the loyal staff who have continued to serve it despite tough times.
She said: “It’s tough at the moment for libraries across the country but I think it’s the staff and the volunteers which has enabled us to develop a great sense of community.
“Many of them have had a part in developing the library over the past 40 and 60 years and made it what it is today.”
Meanwhile, Even Swindon Library celebrated its 10th year in the current building and its 50th birthday serving the local community.
Staff tweeted a list of the most popular books in 1964 when the library opened, which included the top three titles as The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl and A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.
Both libraries celebrated by welcoming members of the community, including councillors and MPs , and serving tea and biscuits, cakes, and finger food.
Neighbourhood libraries manager, Leah Bevan said: “I think it’s great to have reached this milestone because even though we are in a shared space and do not have room to host big events we still play a big part in the local community.
“There is a lot of merit in being a smaller library too. A lot of our customers know our staff by name.
“It’s a really nice community library and some of the staff have been there for years, like Dennis Deacon and Tricia Deegan.
To find out more about the libraries in Swindon, visit the website www.swindon.gov.uk/libraries.