Thursday, July 15, 2010

Library Visit: Stratford-Upon-Avon Library and Information Centre

The Stratford-Upon-Avon Library and Information Centre is a quaint little two-floor operation situated on a pedestrian street just next to Shakespeare's Birthplace (one of the many Shakespeare-related attractions in the town). I poked about the main sections of the library for a bit--the upstairs is comprised of the non-fiction collection, the main enquiries desk, and a small local/family history side room, while the fiction, large print and audio book, dvd, and children's sections are located on the ground floor.

Surprise, surprise, I spent most of my time in the Children's Library! This children's section was rather among the smaller I've seen so far this trip, but they still have what seem to be the requisite supplies--two PCs for patron use, as well as a small padded-chaired reading area and a child-sized table--and genres. I found this library's method of helping children and parents choose reading level-appropriate particularly interesting: they had divided what would be considered early readers into three levels, "hop," "skip," and "jump," which become more advanced in that order. Way to make the idea of reading even a bit more appealing to perhaps reluctant new readers!

For a smaller library, too, I was rather impressed with the regular events the Children's Library puts on. They do a Rhyme Time for 0-2s every other week, and a program for 2-5s every month. It also appears as though the library boosts its offerings for the summer time, both in terms of providing activities for children out of school and in terms of the UK-wide summer reading initiative. The local events catalogue lists a number of space-themed events that will be going on in and around the library in connection with this summer's Space Hop program. The library also advertised homework support during the academic terms.

I spoke to a librarian at this branch, and he said that in general programs are very well attended. In particular, even the smallest library branches in the county get between 100 and 150 children participating in the summer reading program every summer. I was happy to see that Stratford-Upon-Avon is more than just a tourist destination; they have an information-seeking public to satisfy as well!

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