For many, it’s not often that we visit our local library and pick up the latest book however to do so is definitely worthwhile. On 31st October I visited Redhill Library where I talked to librarians Tina Campey, Adela Cross and Dawn Cleaver, which enabled me to gain an insight into the importance of the library and reading. As all three are avid and enthusiastic readers, I also learned about their reading interests and what motivates reading. 


Sometimes the difficulty is finding the motivation to read. Adela Cross recommends finding an interest, for example for children this interest tends to lie with picture books. The library is keen to help people in this area especially children and Tina Campey emphasised that as a starting point is important that children are ‘allowed choice, space and freedom’ in finding an interest and enjoy what they read. Other ways the library has encouraged people to get into reading is through author visits and half –term quizzes.


 Another way to get into reading is through a book club. Reading groups provide an opportunity to be in a safe environment, share your ideas and thoughts with others and try out new reading material. Dawn Cleaver is part of a book club run amongst friends, where members will take turns choosing a book to read, ensuring that what is chosen ‘is not too heavy or big’, but allows for ‘reading out of your comfort zone’. Cleaver says that being part of a reading group has pushed her out of her comfort zone, allowing her to read upon new subjects which she hadn’t considered before such as nature and the environment. 


I also inquired what the books the staff might recommend as well as what inspires them to read, it was refreshing to hear a diverse range of interests serving as a reminder that reading covers a wide range of topics which are sure to be suited to many. Cleaver recommended ‘This Is Going To Hurt’ by  and T’was the Night Shift before Christmas’ by Adam Kay, adding that she also ‘loved reading information’ and enjoys reading whilst travelling.  Meanwhile Campey, Cross and Cleaver agreed that reading tastes change getting older. Campey recommended a recent read ‘A Little Murder’ by Suzette Hill, she enjoyed reading this book especially as a result of the historical aspect of the book and it’s colourful characters and also acknowledges that it is not what she usually reads. For Campey reading is something you ‘need to make time for’ noting that reading is a process through which a story needs to be allowed to develop. However, it is also important to recognise that we will not always enjoy everything we read and Campey places a positive spin on this saying ‘another book I will love’. Whilst for Cross reading can be about discovery and adventure. She advises not to over-analyse but to enjoy the discovery as reading also allows you to gain an insight into new viewpoints and provokes new thoughts.


Other than providing a service to budding readers, the library also engages with the community socially. This is achieved through badge renewals, baby rhyme time, coffee mornings, provision of study areas and a place to learn English and other skills. Cross also talked about the importance of their roles as staff and what their role involves. The roles of the staff ‘depends on what questions are asked’, as Cross notes that customers tend to ‘have a need, want or anxiety’ with which staff can provide friendly support and advice. As a result, the tasks and roles of the staff here can vary from day to day.


 Campey also informed me about a digital platform which also forms part of what the library offers, described as the library’s ‘best kept secret’ as it is not something that many people are aware of. The digital platform is an archive of free newspapers and magazines covering a range of interests including BBC’s Animal and Gardening features. R.B digital is a platform that also allows free usage of audiobooks.


Therefore both books and libraries today have more to offer than what may have been the case in the past and the staff at Redhill Library recognise the importance of creating a wholesome experience for visitors and ensuring a ‘safe comfortable and welcoming environment’.