A series of events are being held to celebrate 35 years since the opening of Lower Earley Library.
During those three and a half decades, the library has been a focal point for the community, offering a wide range of events and services to residents.
The library celebrates its birthday on 23 November and, although it is always closed on Wednesdays, there are lots of ways to be part of the celebrations over the coming weeks.
Cllr Sarah Kerr, executive member for climate emergency and resident services, said: “It is really lovely to see just how important Lower Earley Library is to the local community all these years after it was opened. All of our libraries are safe and inclusive spaces and we must say a huge thanks to the staff and volunteers that have made it run so successfully.
“We are incredibly proud of our library service as a whole, with so many reasons to be involved and to be a part of the community. I am really looking forward to the birthday celebrations. The staff may have changed over time, but the welcoming feeling you get when you enter certainly hasn’t. There have been some wonderful memories from Lower Earley and I’m sure there will be many more in the next 35 years.”
Events coming up include a quiz and raffle on the eve of the library’s birthday, with a celebratory coffee morning taking place on 24 November. Both of these events will be raising money for Wokingham Foodbank, the Borough Mayor’s chosen charity.
Here's how you can get involved
- 80s reminiscence session – Tuesday 15 November, 10.30am to 11.30am. Take a trip down memory lane and enjoy exclusively Eighties nostalgia. Just drop in
- Rhymetime – Tuesday 15 November, 10am to 10.30am. Our usual Rhymetime session, where we will be singing some celebratory rhymes alongside our usual favourites. Booking is required
- Memories of Earley – Friday 18 November, 10.30am to 11.30am. Paul Windley, who runs the 'Memories and Issues of Earley' Facebook group, will be presenting a selection of photographs of Earley from the last 100 years. Just drop in
- Charity quiz and raffle – Tuesday 22 November, Doors 6.30pm for 7pm start. Join us for a quiz where all proceeds will be donated to Alexandra Devine Children’s Hospice and the Mayor's chosen charity, Wokingham Foodbank. Booking is essential via Lower Earley by calling (0118) 931 2150 or by emailing: email@example.com with ‘Lower Earley Quiz’ in the subject heading. This is a cash only event
- 35th birthday party and charity coffee morning – Thursday 24 November, 10.30am to 12.30pm. Share memories of the library and enjoy tasty homemade cakes. All proceeds will go to Wokingham Foodbank. Just drop in. This is a cash only event
You can find out more by visiting our events pages.
The need for a community hub in the area became apparent following rapid growth in the population in the 1980s. The result was one of the borough’s biggest libraries, with The Earley Retreat Pub and Loddon Valley Leisure Centre helping further to make it a desirable place to live.
On 23 November 1987, the library welcomed its first customers, offering 28,000 books, children’s events and author visits. The official opening was carried out by Gareth Gimblett, chairman of Berkshire County Council. He was joined by elected member Dorothy Kemp for photographs as the plaque was unveiled.
As more development took place, the library became a busy hub for the public to use. Events such as book festivals and competitions were run to encourage use, but the biggest increase of usage came in 1990 when the library was relaunched at the same time as the covered walkway was finished, joining the library officially with Asda.
Today, the library is as busy as ever, with regular events for all ages. It provides access to more than 18,000 books and other items across the borough, with approximately 31,000 being held at the library alone.
More from Wokingham Borough Council
Stay connected to the communities around you. Enjoy the latest news, updates and highlights straight in your inbox. Subscribe to our Wokingham Borough Connect newsletters now.