A third set of library memories from Sheffield Forum.
S talks about Hillsborough and Broomhill libraries:
As a child, I used Hillsborough Junior Library; I think the children’s librarian at one time was Maureen Raybould (?). The Junior library was/is a single storey extension built on to the side of the enormous old house which housed the adult library. I used to go to Library Club and loved both the story time and, when older, the quiet reading sessions.
In the dark winter afternoons, when the park gates were shut, the only access to the library was down a fenced walkway entered from Middlewood Road. During the 1940s and 50s (and maybe into the 60s?), there was an infant welfare clinic on the top floor of the adult library building.
When I left school in 1966, I started working for Sheffield City Libraries. My first appointment was to Broomhill Library on Taptonville Road. Bruce Bellamy was the librarian in charge. I liked helping out in the children’s library, Mary Wilde was the children’s librarian. Each week, classes of boys from Birkdale Preparatory School came to change their books. One part of the job I really enjoyed was “call-booking”; this was going out to the addresses of people who had not returned their library books in an attempt to get the books back. Sometimes we were successful, often not, the borrower had a call booking fee imposed on top of the fines, needless to say, we hardly ever got any money, even if we got the books back. The left tickets file back at the library was stuffed with wodges of tickets belonging to people with fines owing (people weren’t allowed to borrow more books until all outstanding fines had been paid).
SD recalls a small, private library:
I used to frequent the Southey Green Library and Central library. I remember a private library on Snig Hill, not sure of the name maybe Red Circle.
I had an uncle, Reg, who had an industrial accident. With the money he got in the settlement he purchased a mobile library from someone. It consisted of a pile of books and a wooden hand cart. I remember visiting my Aunt in the late 40’s and seeing all the books on shelves in the living room.
O knew the library at Highfield:
I used to go to Highfield Library in the early 60’s every Friday afternoon with my mum. The squeaky floor amused me more than the books. It must have made an impression somewhere as I could read before I started school, and am still an avid reader now.
AB worked as a library assistant:
I was a Library Assistant at Handsworth Library and Central Library from 1968 until 1973. They were interesting places to work, with lots of variety and lots going on ‘backstage.’ like hunting for reserved books, repairing books, processing new releases and shifting books round in the underground ‘stack,’ Plus plenty more. As well as the many branch Libraries and the mobile Library unit, I don’t know if most people realised the many different Libraries housed in the Central building. There used to be the Central Lending Library, and the Children’s Library, but there was also the Music Library, the Library of Science and Technology, The Business Library, Central Information Library, The Local History Library, the Reading Room, and the Picture Library up by Graves Art Gallery on the top floor. There was also the massive two storey underground ‘stack’ for keeping overflow and specialist books and vaults in the basement where the valuable and rare books were kept in their own little padlocked cells. It was such an extensive network that they even used to run tours round all the different departments. It was a brilliant service for the people of Sheffield. I love libraries, what they represent, and what they can do.
I am so disappointed that some branches and services have had to close in Sheffield. Even in this digital age there’s nothing like real books, real Librarians and real libraries.
What do you remember about libraries?