Today the new library and museum opened in Wakefield. To celebrate that, Jarvis Cocker, the musician and songwriter from Pulp, and Sheffield, was invited to do the honours. Here Jarvis is, after drawing the strings of the velvet curtain, announcing the 'official opening'!
He talked about how he had been banned by his local library for not returning books within the due date. And how he thought there had been a mistake, and he thought he was being invited to knock a library down, as libraries are threatened with closure all around the country.
Jarvis kindly stayed to chat and sign autographs for us fans who'd turned up to see him. He was very accessible, and chatted with everyone. I managed to get my CD of Pulp's 'we love life' signed, and I said how much I enjoyed his R6 programme, 'Sunday Service'. He told me he was thinking about how he had to get it organised for tomorrow.
What a charming man he is!
We in Wakefield have lost 2 libraries in the city centre, which have been replaced by this one smaller one...and a number of branch libraries have gone, so it's not quite all good news to say this new library has opened. However; it does look splendid; though I shall miss the intimacy of the Drury Lane library (a Carnegie Library, gifted to the city), and the 1960's architectural brutalism of Balne Lane central library. I've spent many a happy hour there, perusing the shelves, and harassing staff with requests for books on obscure artists. My education has come through using libraries; as a child I used my tiny local library from early on, and when I got into art college, I made use of the request service for writing essays and my dissertation. Afterwards, studying for my teaching certificate, and years later, my M.A. I regularly called into the libraries in Wakefield to look at, and order books. And of course I've borrowed books, novels, CD's, maps, read newspapers there, and used the local studies section. I still use the libraries extensively.
I'm pleased to see the opening of a spanking new library. Though I'm sorry to see the old ones go.
My childhood library, another Carnegie Library, has long gone, to be replaced by an anonymous glass and metal shed, kindly paid for by Tesco's, who bought the land around it, and built a massive supermarket behind it. I've also noticed how new libraries always seem to be smaller than the older ones....hmmmmm.