Today’s library roadtrip is not much of a journey for me – I’m heading to Halswell, only a hop down the road from my place in Addington. It’s still a nice ride though, enough out of town that there are fields (look! moocows!) and some gaps in suburbia. I am riding in style, having bribed my mum with offers of cups of tea and scones at a local cafe, but you could just as easily catch the number 7 bus, which currently ends its run right at the library corner before heading back into town.
Our trip takes us past the Halswell shops, with bakery, grocery store, post office and big shiny cafe/bar on the corner. If we wanted to, we could do all the shopping and organising for the week in one go, but today we are focused on books (and cake). There’s a good-sized carpark right outside the library, and easy access into the library itself. Unlike some of the other libraries we’ve visited recently, Halswell is not full of tiny children at Storytimes today, but instead quietly humming along with grown-up customers browsing the shelves or sitting in the sun reading the newspaper. Big picture windows add the sense of space to a library that is, admittedly, not the largest in the network, but it doesn’t feel at all pokey or crammed.
On the contrary, there are things at Halswell that are in no other library – most notably those chairs. Anyone who’s visited Halswell will know the chairs I am talking about – items of true beauty indeed! I am very covetous, and have to restrain myself from stroking them all and purring. Other bits of special we see – a borrowable jigsaw collection, a big trolley full of books for sale, a picture book area bathed in sunlight, and a very inviting outdoor seating area complete with park bench under a tree.
A couple of books found, a quick lesson in self-issuing for mother (initially reluctant, but then surprised by ease of use!), and we are off for lunch at the Old Vicarage. Where, amusingly, we are seated in the library.
Next stop, Little River – one of my favourite places in Canterbury, although I’ve never visited the library before. I wonder if mum is free for lunch …