* Prices may differ from that shown
In 2007 Chesterfield Library was rated as the 8th busiest in the UK, with over three quarters of a million visitors that year! A huge feat considering that Chesterfield is a small town with a total population of around 70,000 (100,000 including surrounding areas).
It is located in the centre of the town on New Beetwell Street, a few minutes walk from the train station and just across the road from the coach station. You can contact the library on 01246 209292
The library is set on three floors. You walk in on the first floor and can find fiction, guidance and general interest books, such as DIY, Cooking and Travel. Here is where you will also find CD's and DVD's to rent, both are very reasonably priced.
Downstairs is the children's library and a large play area with books and computers for younger children. There are also a couple of rooms that hold activities, meetings and the like. There is also a small café that serves all kinds of cold and hot food.
I must admit I don't go there very often as I can't bear the smell of coffee so try to avoid cafés and coffee shops. When I have been, the food has always been served promptly and of a decent quality although a little expensive for what you actually get.
The children's library is very well stocked and is always busy. It is a great environment for getting young children interested in reading as they get to play and have fun while they are there, my son always loved to go and still enjoys books now.
Upstairs is the Study section featuring all kinds of educational textbooks and books related to academic topics. There is also the Local History Library which holds many records such as back issues of local newspapers. The Derbyshire Times is the main paper in our area and this section holds almost every issue since 1847! You can view records on microfilm and print anything you like on A3 paper for 45p each. This section also holds all kinds of records, leaflets, books and any historical documents from the area that may be of interest.
The staff are all very helpful and will go out of their way to find something for you. I would highly recommend a visit to Chesterfield Library as it is a great day out for all the family and you are guaranteed to find something that interests you.
~~~WHERE IS CHESTERFIELD LIBRARY?
Chesterfield Library can be found on New Beetwell Street, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, although the entrance to the library is actually via the end of the Pavements Shopping Centre making it easily accessible from the Market Place and the main shopping areas of town. There is an entrance downstairs to the coffee bar and meeting rooms, but this is only used when the main library entrance is closed this is usually for meetings and events that take place after library opening hours.
If you are coming by bus to New Beetwell Street there is an escalator up to the Pavements Centre and the library is at the other end. This is also the way you will need to approach the building if you have come by car and parked in the multi-storey car park. The library doesnt have its own dedicated car park so this is probably where you will need to park if you want to be close.
Chesterfield Library is open six days a week. Monday to Friday the hours are 9am to 7pm and on Saturdays this changes to 9am to 4pm. There was a 10 week Sunday opening period in the run-up to Christmas last year which may be repeated in future years. The library also has concerts, meetings and events that often take place outside these hours, but these vary depending on the nature of the event.
~~~THE BUILDING & FACILITIES.
The library isnt a pretty building. Its one of those faceless looking concrete creations that were so popular in the early eighties it has a sign revealing its purpose and the main door has one push to open and one automatic door. The automatic door is wide enough to allow people to pass either way. There are also no steps up to the door to make it accessible for wheelchair users, mobility scooters and anyone with a pushchair or pram. One thing you may notice is that the building has no windows that can be opened. This often means that it is too hot in summer and too cold in winter the air conditioning and heating systems are ancient and cant cope with the demands placed on them!
Inside, the library consists of three public floors and two additional floors that are staff only. The entrance level is where you will find the Help (Reception) Desk, the Issue and Returns counters, the Services for the Disabled Desk. Beyond those you need to turn the left to reach the main body of the library.
This is the area we call Browser basically this bit contains the books and material that are considered to be of general interest. Here there are Playstation games, DVDs, popular music CDs, non-study books, some internet access computers, popular magazines and daily newspapers. There is also an Enquiry Desk in the centre which has a fax machine, printers and a black and white photocopier. This is generally the busiest area of the building because of the amount of DVDs in stock and the general material that is on display.
Access to the upper and lowers floors is either via stairs or a public lift. The lift is also as old as the building so is prone to breaking down! If this happens you can use the staff lift (which incidentally is quite old too).
The lower ground floor is where the Childrens Library, Browsers Coffee Shop, the meeting rooms and the Lecture theatre are located. The Coffee Shop serves snacks and light meals and closes at about 4.30pm on week days. The toilets are also here, as well as baby changing facilities. The Childrens Library can also get quite crowded at times this is mainly because of the activities for children and the computers. As well as having 10 computers that can access the internet there are also two very popular storybook PCs that have read and play along stories loaded onto them. During the day this part of the library isnt as busy (accept for Wednesday mornings when there is a story time), but after school, school holidays and Saturdays the Childrens area is very well used. The Childrens Library has a variety of loanable material including CDs with Childrens music, spoken word items, childrens DVDs and fiction and non-fiction books. Down here you can also find a comfortable area for under fives, black and white photocopier and a homework centre. There is an enquiry desk
Going up from the entrance level you will enter the Study, Music & Drama and Local Studies Libraries. These were originally quieter study and working areas, but the introduction of lots of computers in each of these departments has made them all crowded and noisy. The enquiry desk for the study library is near the stairs and this also serves as the enquiry point for music and drama related enquiries such as CDs, play sets, music scores, etc for individuals and for groups. There are printers here and another black and white photocopier. One of the computers here also has a scanner for public use you just need to mention this is what you want when booking a slot to use it. On either side of the desk there are also bookable study booths which tend to get really busy coming up to exam times there are power sockets in these too.
Continue on to the right on this floor and there is a well stocked local studies library which is extremely popular and well used, especially amongst people tracing their family history. Fiche readers, census material and computers are available along with loanable and not for loan books on a local theme. You need to book to use a fiche reader and one of them is connected to printer. This is where you will find yet another black and white photocopier and the colour copier.
~~~WHAT I THINK.
Chesterfield Library is a busy and well used facility for the people of Derbyshire. In fact it is in the top ten of the busiest libraries in the UK, beating many big city libraries. Most of the time there are lots of people browsing and using the facilities. The internet has become a big draw for visitors, as are the loans of audio/visual items, such as DVDs and CDs. Books are still really popular too and with customers being allowed to borrow up to six items the flow in and out of material is quick and busy.
Despite the old exterior the inside of the building is bright and the atmosphere is pretty relaxed. Gone are the days when all library workers had cardigans and stern expressions! I cant remember the last time anyone said Shhhhhh either! Visitors to the town often pop in and comment on how nice and big the library is compared to their town or city, which is always nice to hear. I think we are quite lucky to have a library like this one in our town and am always pleased when people appreciate it. It is always nice when new members come in and are surprised to find out the variety of services on offer they say theyd have come in sooner if theyd have realised about the computers, games and activities!
It is especially nice to be in when there is a special event or activities going on. These include lunchtime concerts, author visits, local history talks and fun days often for children but sometimes aimed at adults too. Youd be surprised at how many things go on to entertain, educate and amuse the community!
So .next time you are in Chesterfield, dont forget to call in at the library. Youll be pleasantly surprised at what you could find out and pleased you made the effort!
New Beetwell Street
Tel: 01246 209292
Fax: 01246 209304