Libraries Gave Us Power

Gretna, for those who don’t know, is quite famous for weddings. Being the first town over the border when going from England to Scotland meant that many young couples took advantage of Scotland’s more relaxed marriage laws many hundreds of years ago. Despite the law being repealed many moons ago the tradition has continued. Hence, in my home town, it’s not unusual to walk down the street for milk and the newspaper and see a newly married couple. When they set about getting the builders in a few months ago to extend the registration office it looked like the wedding business needed more room. Then I heard it was to rehouse the local library.

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t visited Gretna Library since I was very young. We had got our son a library card for Carlisle City Library, eight miles away and over the border into England but for some reason we’d never got anything for the library just up the road from our house and on the way to school and back. Maybe it was because it was part of the community centre with limited opening hours, maybe it was also because it was an old, dusty place.

The new place opened about a month or two ago, it’s actually doubling as a county council centre as well which was housed in another aged building up the road. I checked the opening times expecting it to be the same as the last library, open for about four hours every other day with a one hour lunch closure. In these times of council cuts it seemed only logical it would be the case. To my surprise, the library now has extended opening hours and is open until 7pm some evenings. After picking up my son from school on Friday we finally went to check the place out.

It’s a brilliant place, quite small but then it’s serving a small town not a large city. A really good selection of material as well. We were there for about an hour and fifteen minutes before we realised it and now Kyle and myself both have library cards. Upon arriving back home I remembered that it’s been ages since I had a library card for anywhere as the last time was probably whilst I was at art college for the campus library (itself now closed due to cut backs ironically enough). It feels really good to have a much improved facility as this within walking distance.

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