January 4th, 2008


The space formerly known as Winchester Library

The new Winchester Discovery Centre opened in November, but I only visited there for the first time this week and it gets a thumbs up from me.

They've taken the former library and added on new spaces for galleries and a small auditorium. The main building is still full of books and they've opened it up to make a really light and welcoming space.

This week I checked the Online Library Catalogue for a particular book I wanted (The great stink of London : Sir Joseph Bazalgette and the cleansing of the Victorian capital) and found it was 'on the shelves'. So I went there after work, and armed with the Dewey Decimal Number, scanned the library, spotted the History section easily, and found the book. If I'd had my pin number with me, I could even have checked it out with a self-service terminal, and completed the whole process in under a minute!

There are lots of computer terminals around, study tables, and at the entrance a coffee bar. But the couple of times I've been there, even though it's been fairly busy, it's still kept that library quietness. It's open every weekday until seven, which is also an improvement on the old library since it used to be open until seven only on certain weekdays and I could never remember which!