A new chapter for Holbeach readers

Stuart Parker and Coun Nick Worth at 'Holbeach Library
Stuart Parker and Coun Nick Worth at 'Holbeach Library
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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess

I took a deep breath and pushed the door open. Nervously clutching the dog-eared card in my coat pocket, I walked towards the desk. Would I be subjected to a stern lecture about why I had not been attending regularly? At the very least I was expecting a withering look over the top of spectacles.

I cleared my throat and began to babble what I had been rehearsing all morning.

“I haven’t been to the library for a long time and wondered if my card still worked and if I could borrow some books, please.”

I can’t really explain why I had stopped visiting our local library in Holbeach, or in Spalding for that matter. I used to visit quite frequently, especially when my son was younger. But, like many others, I suppose I’ve just got out of the habit.

I felt rather ashamed when I heard that Holbeach library was closing because I realised it was people like me who had contributed to its demise. In an effort to atone I thought I should pay a visit to the new community library which is part of the Lincolnshire Co-op in Fleet Street.

Unsurprisingly my old green and white library card had expired but the helpful volunteer, one of many offering their time to the new service, directed me to a telephone which, if I picked up the receiver, would put me directly through to Lincolnshire County Council. This felt like being asked to speak to the banker on Deal or No Deal.

I was a little unnerved.

I picked up the phone and, after being put on hold for a short while, was helped by another forgiving soul, who, instead of giving me penance for my sins, happily renewed my card in a jiffy.

I now had the run of the library. There’s a children’s section, non-fiction and a reasonable selection of fiction, both hardback and paperback. Internet access is available via a bank of computers, there are spoken word tapes and CDs plus a photocopying service.

Although it’s much smaller than the original, it’s bright, smart and uncluttered. The new library is located in a hub with the pharmacy and Post Office and I think this adds to the welcoming atmosphere. It didn’t look the sort of place where you would have to speak in hushed tones.

I came away with four books, which I can borrow for three weeks. I’m fooling myself if I think I can plough my way through them in that time, but I can renew them online if I need to.

Another revelation is that I have access to lots more books via the virtual library on the Lincolnshire County Council’s website.

Having plucked up the courage to return to the library, I can thoroughly recommend it. No need to be sheepish: you’ll be welcomed back to the fold with open arms.