We know that libraries and librarians can change people’s lives.  This a space for librarians and library users to share those life-changing stories.

These stories reflect the variety of services offered by trained staff in public libraries across the UK.  They talk about how public libraries serve their communities, and promote health, wellbeing, and education.

You can browse stories from the tag cloud below, or see the full list of stories here.


Have a story you’d like to share on this site? Contact us.

8 thoughts on “Stories

  1. Sharon Cattermole

    Southend on sea Library is the most used in the country. My local library at Leigh used to be the old rectory and is surrounded by a lovely well-kept garden. A couple of years ago I attended the BBC RaW workshop at Southend on story telling. As a result of two hours of learning basic writing techniques, I entered the story competition and was one of the regional winners. The library workshop was brilliant -without the support of the staff and the venue I would not have had the confidence to enter the competition. Libraries are about so much than books…they are a hub for communities.


  2. Neil M

    I hope my personal story will be of interest: –
    Like many people in England and Wales who were victims of the British education system of the 1950s and 1960s, being pretty hopeless at Maths (which I still am) I failed the 11+, which condemned me and many others to a second class education which, in turn, meant that I left school at 15 with no qualifications whatsoever. However, I have always had an insatiable appetite for reading – reading anything, anything at all, magazines, comics, books, both fiction and non-fiction, and when nothing else was available, just browsing through and reading English dictionaries. In the 1960s, not being able to afford to buy too many books, I became a very frequent user of my Public Library (and still am). Within a few years, mainly because I was able to use Public Libraries for independent learning and studying, I had passed a number of GCE O-levels (now defunct and replaced by GCSEs) and GCE A-levels. For the last 30 years now, having started purely as a hobby, I have been researching and compiling both magazine articles and maritime history books. I attribute my success in this field to the availability of books and research facilities at my Public Library, and to the kind, helpful and professional staff at those libraries, who were always there to offer advice, encouragement and help. Never at any time did they make me feel as if I was a nuisance, but always patiently did their best to assist me.

    Personally I feel very angry that politicians and Councils are even considering reducing our Public Library Service, and I feel it will not only be a deep and lasting disgrace, but also an insult to the people of this country, particularly our children and future generations, if these transient politicians are allowed to get away with it. Without any doubt whatsoever books are the key to success in life – not computers, but books, books and more books. For many people it is only the Public Library which can supply those books and, of course, many other services.

    Sorry to ramble on, but I feel both angry and frustrated that people are using economic difficulties to attempt to abolish a Service which, in difficult times, will be needed by people more than ever before. To society as a whole Libraries are an educational and cultural necessity.


  3. samantha armstrong

    South tyneside libraries are a brilliant place to be. The members of staff are so supportive and they always have a smile for you and they take bullying very seriously to. SO JOIN YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY NOW!


  4. Nicola Watters

    I think its awful what the politicians are doing. I bring my daughter to the library every week and during holidays they always have lots of things for the children to do. Dropping the staff levels in the library will mean there will be nothing much in the library to do. my daughter was in her shell when we first came to south tyneside and now she has opened up.

    The library is a nice place to come without the staff what are we supposed to do.


  5. Kirsty

    I spent a good chunk of my childhood in my local library branch in Cambridge. Having easy, free access to its resources helped open up new worlds to me, and the library played no small part in shaping my outlook. What began as a love of books and reading developed into a passion for the English language that eventually helped lead to my choice of career as an adult.

    While my family would always have encouraged me to read as much as possible as a child, without my local library my access to books would have been much more limited. That branch – which is still buzzing with activity, and has more than 40,000 visitors a year – is now one of several across Cambridgeshire that are under threat of closure. It would be a travesty if children growing up on my estate are deprived of the same opportunities that were afforded to me, all for the sake of saving a few pennies.



    I was born in a small town in Patagonia, Argentina,colonized by europeans, and the library, together with the church, school , and sports clubs, was vital to our community, when I married and came to live in London, I was in LIBRARY HEAVEN and for 50 years enjoyed and praised their invaluable service , probably the best in the world… perverse to desimate this vital service…..


  7. Brian Moseley

    Although I have been a member of the Plymouth Library Service since the mid-1950s I celebrated my 50th anniversary of using the Plymouth Local Studies Library on Friday December 2nd 2011 by taking a birthday cake to the Central Library to share with staff. I also took it to the Plymouth & West Devon Record Office as this was also the 50th anniversary of me starting my local history research.

    I used to spend every Saturday in the |Local Studies Library and often evenings as well, up until closure time at 9pm. Even when I moved away from Plymouth I always spent time in my local library and as a consequence have used libraries at Redruth, Barnstaple, Tavistock, Torquay, Exeter (both City and West Country Studies), Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon, Bristol, Keynsham, Bath, Westminster, Gloucester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.


  8. Giles Wynne

    Reasons for Public Libraries
    You have missed a very important one.
    I met my first girlfriend at the library when I was 11.
    She came with her friend
    But soon we were meeting there regularly behind the book shelves
    Pretending we hadn’t been seen
    Holding hands
    Writing and handing over “love notes”
    So you see Libraries can be places for dating
    Illicit meetings
    Finding out about each other
    What books do each partner like.
    Sadly my girl and I were split up when we were sent to different schools
    She to a Girls School and me to a Boys School
    Therein lies another story
    That Boys and Girls schools became Co Ed
    However libraries remain Unisex Centres



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