Chineham Library

There are certain buildings in communities all over the world that allow visitors no matter their age, their profession, their wealth to travel, learn and discover.


These buildings are universal and crucial and now after months of disturbance and closure they are open once more and want nothing more than their communities to come through their doors.


This article, as you may have guessed from the rather profound and maybe a tad pretentious intro is about libraries and in particular our local Chineham library. It has long been said by far better writers than I how wonderful libraries are; “Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life.” So said Sidney Sheldon, Albert Einstein added “The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” And he knew a fair few things, didn’t he? But locally you’d be hard-pushed to find someone who knows more about Hampshire Library Service than Rachel who has been based at Chineham Library for six years.


CommunityAd had the pleasure of a chat with Rachel whose love for the library is apparent as she quickly divulged that “the thing I love most about my role is helping people. Whether that’s fostering a love of books and reading with children visiting from a local school, or assisting someone to log on to our computers, I like to feel that we are making a difference.”


What’s your earliest memory of a library?

My earliest memory of a library would be joining my local library when I was around 4 years of age. Our library seemed like a magical place, with shelves full of wonderful books, people who loved to talk about books, and lots of exciting activities going on for children! I was very proud to have my very own library card, and the responsibility that entailed. It truly helped to nurture my life-long love of reading.


What book would you recommend everyone read?

It’s so hard to pick just one, as there are so many fantastic books out there! From what I have read recently, I would have to recommend “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris, as it was such a compelling and moving story, told with such sensitivity. Stories such as this need to be told, so we do not forget what those people had to endure.


And as it’s almost Christmas is there any particular seasonal read you’d recommend?

For me, an essential Christmas read would have to be Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas! It has such nostalgia for me and brings back some very fond memories. For a more contemporary Christmas read, I would highly recommend “The Book Of Christmas”, by Jane Struthers, as it’s jammed full of wonderful Christmas facts to really get you in the spirit.


It must be great to have opened your doors again after such a long absence?

It has been brilliant to welcome the public back into our library, as we have missed that part of our role so much. The interactions with our customers are a vital part of our job and, from what people have said, they have missed us just as much! It has been even better to bring back our children’s activities, such as Rhymetime and Storytime, as these provide an essential support network for parents and carers of young children.


Why is it crucial that a thriving community like Chineham has access to a library?

Our vision is that libraries are community hubs that bring individuals, communities and services together. We work closely with voluntary and community sector organisations which help us to engage with those who are most in need. We have invested in digital services to provide access to technology to those who are at risk of digital exclusion. Our libraries are a safe space, and there is always something for everyone in our buildings.


Are there any dates or events that readers should be making a note of?

We hold free drop-in craft sessions for children on the first Saturday of every month, from 10am-12 noon. We also have Storytime every Tuesday at 10:30am, and two Rhymetime sessions every Friday, one at 10am for babies under 1, and one at 11am for those over 1. There are other exciting events, both online and in person, at other libraries in the local area. Further details can be found on the website.


Find out more about what’s on offer at your local Chineham Library by visiting their website.

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