Private libraries galore

Last month we printed a letter from Mrs A D Atkin of Armorial Road enquiring about the privately owned lending library which used to be on Earlsdon Avenue North from the 1950s to the 1970s.  We have had several responses about that and similar libraries in the area.

Mrs Brannigan wrote to say that her friend remembers the small library on Earlsdon Avenue as she worked there as a part time assistant.  She says “It was run by a lady called Mrs Wise from the front room of her house and it was especially busy on a Saturday afternoon”.  Elaine Parnell confirmed that there was a library on Earlsdon Avenue just past Kensington Road, on the right going towards Hearsall Common and David Lloyd sent us a photo of what he thought were the premises, although this was not the case.

Colin Armstrong, who ran Armstrong’s Books and Collectables in Albany Road from 1983 to 2007, tells us he didn’t remember the library himself but sent a copy of a book jacket from ‘Hearsall Library’.  This establishes the address as 200 Earlsdon Avenue, with opening hours of 2.30pm to 7pm Mondays and Wednesdays, 2.30pm to 8pm on Tuesdays and Fridays and 10.30am to 1pm and 2.15pm to 8pm on Saturdays – no less than 28.5 hours in all!  The library claimed to stock ‘all the latest Fiction: Westerns, Romance, Mystery, War, General, Science Fiction and Period’.  The book jacket also advertised several nearby businesses: June Evans, hairdressers at 169, grocer J Wheatley at 123 Earlsdon Avenue and P A Shore’s betting shop at 5 Coniston Road (now a barbers).

It seems that there were other private libraries in the area.  Mrs Brannigan told us that there was a small library in Melbourne Road and Elaine Parnell gave details of one in Albany Road, known as the Sweet Library because it was part of a sweet shop.  It was on the opposite side of the entry where Statham’s Flowers is now and is believed to have been run by sisters.

ECHO would like to thank all those who helped provide information – and we would welcome more, particularly details of the years that the libraries operated.