Built in 1913 in the traditional Carnegie design, Earlsdon library really is in the heart of the community. Sited in a prominent position and next to the local primary school, it is a much loved local landmark.
When threatened with closure, and thanks to the commitment of volunteers, it became a registered charity in September 2019 (1180063).
Coventry City Council tasked us with reimagining the library to provide a multi-use community space and a cultural hub; able to host events and rent space in order to provide an income and pay our running costs. They supported us with a transition fund and a local businessman and Earlsdon resident, Alan Denyer of AWD Restorations stepped forward.
Understanding the need to think outside the box and reinvent ourselves as a thriving enterprise, he looked to the building itself for inspiration. Beneath a century of modifications, he recognised the hidden beauty of the building and was the creativity behind our successful reinvention; giving freely of his expertise and craftmanship and upcycling wherever possible.
Our restoration work is now complete and looking amazing. Our lovely library now revels in her Edwardian charms. The symmetry has been revealed, original features rediscovered and brought out of hiding. The original Reading Room lettering was hidden behind bookshelves, but is now revealed for all to see and is the model for our new signage.
Pre Covid19 we knew exactly where we were going and how we would get there. We have strong links with both Coventry and Warwick universities and had made plans to offer workshops to support, amongst other things, the unemployed back into work. We had held a very successful ‘Behind the Books’ events programme featuring local published authors and established a growing following.
Saturday mornings were a simple joy. Our children’s library was brimming with children and their families working together on Lego constructions, various crafts and even reading to an assistance dog. Our diverse community shared languages and experiences; friendships were formed and support freely given.
We have the trust and skills of our loyal volunteers enabling us to open our doors once more. We do not know what the future will bring, but we are confident we can continue with our journey, albeit by a different route.
To find out more about our trustees click HERE.….
To find out more about Andrew Carnegie and a poem by Antony Owen (a poet raised in Earlsdon), Click HERE
"A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life-raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. On a cold rainy island, they are the only sheltered spaces where you are not a consumer but a citizen instead. "Caitlin Moran