Lochee Community Library has narrowly missed out on becoming on The Bookseller Library of the Year to Liverpool Central Library after making the shortlist for the prestigious prize. The judges commended the library as an example of a local library that has put itself at the heart of its community.
Lochee Library, which opened in 1896 and was the first library in Dundee, is still at the heart of the community 122 years later. Joan Rodger, Library & Information Worker has worked there for the past 45 years, and is such a key part of the community that she has been asked to switch on the Christmas Lights, present school prizes and open new buildings.
Joan is very proud of the "highly interactive" story sessions that the library hosts. One recent session involved fruit and veg brought in by staff, with children encouraged to try something they had never eaten. Joan often adds a Scottish twist to old favourites, such as "heids, shudders, knees and taes".
She says that visitors to the library are increasingly interested in using computers and the library’s free wi-fi, but adds that the most important thing is getting people, and especially youngsters, through the doors and using the library. In the past year, more than 740 events were held, including storytimes, craft sessions and reading groups, an increase of over 150 year on year.
Sinclair Aitken, Chair Leisure & Culture Dundee
“We are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted for this award. It is particularly pleasing that The Bookseller has recognised that Lochee Library is at the heart of the community. It is a testament to the staff who work there and across the city that our community libraries are so highly respected.”
A highlight was a "Crime and Cake" event with local authors Wendy Jones and Chris Longmuir. The library also hosts a relaxation group, encouraging participants to share stories while knitting or crafting, and, working with the swimming pool that’s located next door, the library held swimming parties for 160 people, with visitors enjoying a story session after a swim. Library staff are also involved in supporting local causes. A recent tombola raised £600 for a "buddy bench" for lonely or sad pupils at a nearby school. The service also hosts regular visits from Macmillan cancer nurses, who sit and chat with visitors to the library.
Dundee Library & Information Services are already previous winners of the award having scooped the prize in 2013. Ends