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There have been many libraries in Hungerford. The present library is in Church Street, and opened in 2008.
Libraries from 1900-1967:
During the Victorian period there was a great enthusiasm for setting up Reading Rooms and Lending Libraries. The Parish Magazines of the late 1800s are full of detail about a number of these institutions.
Mrs Lily Griffiths remembered a library at the rear of the Old National School when she was a child during the 1930s.
Before the 1930s it is thought that a library was held in the Methodist School room (built 1907) behind the Methodist Chapel in Bridge Street. Pam Bishini (nee Batt) lived at 9 Bridge Street as a child, and recalled a "Christian Endeavour" lending library run by Misses Gosling and Davies. Mrs June Prictor said that a friend recalled the Methodist School Room being used as a library for a short time before it moved to the "Toc H building" - Library Cottage, 1 Church Lane.
John Newton recalls that the Toc H building housed the library downstairs, and the Labour Exchange upstairs. Access to the library was through the Coffee Tavern (7 & 8 High Street, currently Martins and Kitchenmonger).
Brenda Newton recalls there were several independent lending libraries during the 1940s and 1950s, including:
- Trigg's & Son (11 Bridge Street)
- W H Smith (6-8 High Street)
- E Barnard (21 High Street).
Miss Stella French (head teacher at the Croft Nurseery School from 1954) and Mr Geoffrey Dopson recalled that during the 1950s there was a library at Wessex House, 127 High Street, in a room at the back, in the north end of the building, that previously had been Mr Kerlie's dentist's room.
The library 1967-2007:
In 1967 a new library was built on the site of James' Great Western Mill, which had been destroyed by fire in 1960. Also on the site were the new Fire Station and a large car-park.
The Library, 2008-2018:
The current new library, including the Town Council office, was built in 2007, and opened in Jany 2008. (See "Library overcomes opening hitches", NWN 24 Jan 2008).
In Feb 2016 the future of the Hungerford library (along with seven other libraries in West Berkshire) was threatened with closure as part of plans to save £17.5 million. An energetic appeal was established to oppose this loss of service.
The result was the establishment of "The Hub", which opened in 8 Sep 2018. See "It's official: Hub is open for business", NWN 13 Sep 2018.
The Hub, 2018-present:
The Hub is a not-for-profit community asset to ensure the continued provision of a library in Hungerford by West Berkshire Council.
Offering such varied activities as harp lessons, Spanish courses, creative workshops, needle felting and regular events organised by the West Berkshire library team. The Hub is staffed partly by professional librarian staff and partly by a team of volunteers.
- Hungerford Library (opened Jan 2008), Church Street, Jan 2010
- Old National School, 42 High Street, c1917
- Library Cottage, 1 Church Lane, Aug 2001
- W H Smith, 6 High Street, c1918
- Hungerford Library (1967-2007) in 2007