Parish church on loan to Knebworth library!
Published: 23 Apr 2019
Knebworth Community Library has entered a spiritual new chapter while Hertfordshire County Council develops a new library site.
In an imaginative solution to retain the library at the heart of the parish while the new centre is constructed, the popular book and resources haven can now be found in St Martin’s Church, on the corner of St Martin's Road and London Road.
Built in the 1960s, the old Knebworth Library is being demolished and rebuilt as part of a co-location project which will see a library, doctor’s surgery, clinic and pharmacy all occupying the existing library site. Work is expected to take a year.
Hertfordshire County Council’s Assistant Director for Customer Engagement and Library Resources, Taryn Pearson-Rose said: “This is a very inventive use of community resources and a unique setting for a library which will provide a new and different experience for users.
“We are grateful to St Martin’s Church for allowing us the loan of their beautiful church and we hope that many residents will take advantage of the library’s very novel location while the new centre is being built.”
Commenting on this unique parish partnership, Mark Clifford, Churchwarden of St Martin's Church said: “St Martin's Church is delighted to see Knebworth Community Library using part of its space. We see the library move into the church building as an integral part of our aim to be a church at the heart of the local community, serving that community and working with it as part of our mission.
“The well-lit library area has blended beautifully with the fabric of the building and is enabling us to offer a place for people to enjoy afternoon tea, share needs, pray and reflect. Both the regular congregation and the library staff appear to be enjoying the library's temporary home and we look forward to working together through this year.”
The new library space contains all the books previously housed in the old library, along with two public PCs, a photocopier, self-serve kiosk, library link and plenty of space to browse and read.
The church warden and church administrator have been very accommodating in allowing the library to operate the increasingly popular Baby Rhyme Time in a carpeted area at the back of the church.
With new lighting, new power, data and network having been installed as part of the temporary library works the temporary space will benefit the church community, as well as library volunteers and customers.
Knebworth volunteers also provide tea, coffee and games while the library is open on Monday afternoons, enabling the community to socialise together.