This is something I wasn’t expecting. When you have a nice old library building, funded by Andrew Carnegie over a hundred years ago, you don’t expect to have the library moving into the former shop premises of Argos.
If I understand it right, old Argos isn’t big enough. Yes, it would bring the library ‘to the people’, or it would if there are enough people left visiting the shopping precinct in Stockport. It’s been on its way down for some time.
Yes, I know some people are worried about going into libraries, because they are not used to them, and the building might feel too grand for the likes of an ordinary person. The thing is, when I lived in Stockport, the library was what I encountered first, on arriving into town. It’s right there when you get off the train. Or the bus outside McDonald’s.
The arguments for the move, at least for the position of old Library versus Argos, are not entirely unsound. But I’m thinking here of when my other old library, the one in Halmstad, was replaced with a new, more modern building some years ago. I was really against it. But the fact is, the new library building is far better.
Yes, my childhood memories are somewhere else, but that building still remains, used for other things now. The new one is bigger and more luxurious. Because it was built to be a library, and to be larger, to accommodate everything that was needed.
It doesn’t sound as if the Stockport plans would do that. Smaller and not purpose built sounds worse, to my mind.
I did sign the [Stockport] petition. I feel there should be more thought going into this. Yes, maybe the old building can be kept and used for something truly great, although I would have believed more in that ten years ago. But the message is that library users don’t need or deserve much. A former shop will do.
What Mr Carnegie would think I’m not sure. But we generally like our gifts to be appreciated.