This summer, Corsham Library closed and moved into the new Springfield Campus. The old Library was opened in 1969, replacing a wooden hut just off Pickwick Road. This was a great improvement – the old wooden building, crammed with books and with limited seating, was heated in winter with a stove that produced lots of condensation on the windows – not the best conditions for the preservation of books! By contrast, the purpose-built Library was spacious and well organised, with a wide variety of books.
The new Library in the Campus opened on 7 August 2014, attracting 700 visitors that day. During August more than 11,000 people came to see the new facilities, and since then just over 400 new members have been registered, bringing the total to 7,400. Of these, just under half are currently ‘active’, i.e., have books out on loan. Some 30% of members are below the age of 16.
The Community Librarian for the Chippenham Group of Libraries, Jessica Phillips, heads an enthusiastic team of staff running the Library. Maintaining the right balance of stock is important as the population of Corsham grows. The Library stocks some 15,000 items (books, DVDs, videos, etc.) of which 60% are fiction, and 30% are usually out on loan. £10,000 has been spent on new stock, which includes a donation of £5,000 from The Methuen Trust. There is an especially good section on the Corsham area. You can borrow ebooks too – there are 3,000 to choose from. And bookable computers are available there with free access to the internet.
At the time of writing, the future of the old Library site seems uncertain. Together with the Mansion House, it is empty and stands forlorn surrounded by metal barriers.