Penistone Library

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Penistone Library
This is administered by Barnsley Council and supports Jobsearch. It also provides some free or paid-for courses, such as computer tutorials, digital photography courses and more. Facilities include:

For enquiries and renewals, please call 76 2313. The Opening Times (as of 2018):

Sunday Closed
Monday 9 am 6 pm Library
Tuesday 9 am 5 pm
Wednesday 9 am Noon
Thursday 9 am 7 pm
Friday 9 am 5 pm
Saturday 9.30 am Noon

Local Interest Books
Cawthorne Garden Centre
(opposite Cannon Hall car park)
Shelley Garden Centre have local books.
The Yorkshire Shop in Denby Dale also has local books.

Penistone Library is now on Facebook under the name of ASCL Penistone Library.

The old 'Carnegie Free Library'
The original library was purchased in 1913 by the people of Penistone, through public subscription and with the help of the Scottish/American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, 1966 Plaquewho matched the funding with his own. Andrew Carnegie can be credited with raising literacy levels throughout the UK and the USA, with the consequent advantages to the prosperity of our countries. The Town Hall (now called the Paramount) and 'Council Rooms' were added on to the Library in 2014.

The Carnegie Free Library was in the top half of the Town Hall buildings on Shrewsbury Road. The new Library was a milestone event in the history of our town. The lintel above the door is inscribed 'Carnegie Free Library' and stained glass inserts in the door are still marked with Andrew Carnegie's monogram.

After many decades of serving the reading needs of the public, the library needed to move and expand. A new purpose-built Library was built next door to St Paul's chapel (now St Andrew's church). It was officially opened in March 1966 by Cllr S Palmer of the West Riding County Council (WRCC), as in the plaque above.

In those days, Penistone came under the Wakefield-based WRCC and people over a certain age will be familiar with those initials on a wide range of objects, including school pencils and notebooks. 1966 was the year when we famously won the football World Cup against Germany.

The vacated Carnegie Library was then to be used by Penistone Town Council. After Local Government Re-organisation 1974, the old Library fell under the control of Barnsley Council and became the local office for Berneslai Homes (social housing). It is now occupied by BMBC employees who support the local Ward Alliance but erroneously call their part of the building 'the Town Hall' and advertise it as such. The actual Town Hall (Paramount) did not exist when the Carnegie Library was built.

For some years after the move, a small and musty 'Reading Room' for daily newspapers remained in the building. It had large wooden reading stands which retained the newspapers in place. They were all broadsheets in those days. For a time the Reading Room continued when it moved into a shed around the back, possibly for legal reasons as a vestige of the Library. Eventually that disappeared and newspapers became available in the current library on High Street. See the History Page for more details.

A major refurbishment of the library started towards the back end of 2006 and it re-opened in February 2007. Jill Craven kindly gave me the grand tour, as everything had been changed around. The reception desk had moved from near the main entrance to the far end. In its old location, the desk was too close to the outside door. Every time the automatic door opened, a gust of wind would scatter papers and distress the librarians. That was a very sensible change.

The newly-improved library expanded its computer facilities to provide internet access and word processing. It also has public information leaflets, bus timetables, details of local clubs and societies and a folder with 'What's On' details. With the demise of the upper office on Shrewsbury Road (the old Carnegie Library location) in recent times, the Library is now required to provide information and web access for job-seekers. As always, it is the natural place to find local information of almost every sort.

Children's areaPCs and the deskMain part
Library help desk
Tutorial roomMeeting room

The old, austere tables were replaced by small round ones, giving a more relaxed 'café' feel. The new seating was also much more comfortable. In addition to modern fittings, computers and a spacious feel, the children's area was expanded. Perhaps the cuddly toys might be seen as a kind of 'germ exchange'. Through a far door, there is a corridor leading to a large computer room for tutorial work and seminars. It has a data projector and a suite of modern computers. Next is a meeting room with its large table. A busy programme of events makes good use of the facilities.

The Dransfield Cabinet
The preservation of local historical publications is an important role for a library, as (after Google) it is the first place you might look for it. But Local History is often preserved in untidy, tatty, stained, dog-eared, musty and unattractive books, hand-written notes and old leaflets that might not fit well in a modern library. Even so, Penistone Library still has a collection of old books, pamphlets, Penistone Almanacs and more in the 'Dransfield Cabinet'.

The 'cabinet' is actually a walk-in cupboard near to the children's section; presumably given its name from an actual cabinet in the old library. In particular, there are books by the local historian John Ness Dransfield, who made a major contribution to our local history. His great work was 'A History of the Parish of Penistone', which contains a wealth of historic detail, along with a big section on the local hunt. There is more than one copy but they are not in good condition and one of them is falling apart. There are also some good local history books in the bookcase nearest to the counter. I can also recommend books written by Chris Heath about Denby.

A Sound Place to Study
The library is a good escape for a change of scenery and routine but it is not always easy to concentrate. I would welcome some 'Quiet Please' notices on the wall as it can be downright rowdy at times. On one occasion, a fellow appeared to be having a private paper-tearing competition, followed by rhythmically ripping sellotape from a reel, as I was trying to concentrate on something. I thought of Wilson, Kepple and Betty doing a sand dance. Another time, a fellow read an entire newspaper while very loudly drumming his fingers to an imaginary tune. Good old 'Care in the Community'.

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