Published: Monday, 30th September 2019

Medway Council is encouraging residents to get creative, get connected and to learn new skills during Libraries Week.

National Libraries Week, a celebration of the nation’s much-loved libraries, takes place from Monday, 7 to Saturday, 12 October. The week aims to celebrate how libraries are engaging communities through technology, building confidence in residents’ digital skills as well as supporting local people’s health and wellbeing.

Last year 1,021,816 people visited a Medway library – there are 15 to choose from including the five Community Hubs in Chatham, Gillingham, Rochester, Strood and Twydall and the Neighbourhood Community Hub in Hempstead. Residents can also visit Medway Archives Centre, the Community Mobile Library and Children’s Mobile Library. Residents can access council services such as planning, housing, benefits and environmental services and access computers and free Wi-Fi in all council libraries. In 2018, 7,937,352 minutes were spent on library computers.

A total of 951,565 books were borrowed from Medway’s libraries last year and a staggering 3,641 people, including 3,011 young people took part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge which was inspired by the fiftieth anniversary of the first moon landings. 

To mark Libraries Week a number of workshops, talks and author visits will be held in libraries across Medway. 

Popular children’s author Sam Gayton will visit Strood and Gillingham libraries to speak to children from local primary schools. Sam’s books include His Royal Whiskers, The Last Zoo and Hercufleas.

On Wednesday, 9 October, Frances Beaumont will give a fascinating talk about John Oliver a tug man on ‘Hobbit’ along the River Medway for 40 years. John was born without hands and two short arms and was also a trained artist. The Extraordinary Life and Loves of Johnny No Hands – an illustrated talk will take place from 2.30pm to 4pm, the talk is free to attend but booking is required.

Hands-on family history workshops will also be held at Twydall Library and Rainham Library on Thursday, 10 and Friday, 11 October. Come along and do some digital digging into your family tree. The sessions are free but booking is required. 

Journalist Christine Rayner will speak about her Life in Print at Chatham Library on Saturday, 12 October, from 3pm to 4.30pm. Christine started her career at Chatham News in 1974 and rose through the ranks to become editor of four local newspapers. The talk is free to attend but booking is required.

To book your place at a talk or workshop visit your local library or call 01634 337799.

Medway’s libraries are at the heart of our communities

Cllr Howard Doe, Portfolio Holder for Community Services at Medway Council, said: “Medway’s libraries are at the heart of our communities. They are not only places where residents can nurture their love of reading, but they have become hives of activity where residents can access a variety of council services and attend a number of clubs and sessions. I would encourage residents to visit their local library to find out more about the services they offer.”

Becoming a member of Medway Libraries is free and membership allows you to borrow books, download eBooks, eMagazines, eNewspapers and eComics, for free. It also enables you to search databases such as Ancestry, Encyclopaedia Britannica and Oxford Dictionaries, free of charge.

More information about Medway’s library services.

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