Kingsbridge Library is ideally sited in the centre of town behind the bandstand and right next door to Kingsbridge Town Council and Age Concern.
They are also on the flat with disabled access by the bus station and car park.
It is no longer run by Devon County Council but by a charity called Libraries Unlimited which also runs libraries throughout Devon (except Plymouth) which in the South Hams also includes Dartmouth, Ivybridge, Salcombe and Totnes.
Library Supervisor for Kingsbridge and Salcombe Maria Johnson says: ‘’We’ve been super busy over the summer and we have somewhere between 200 and 250 people a day coming through our doors.
‘’We are getting our numbers back to pre-Covid times, not quite as many and it’s taken a while to build that back up again.
Maria described their facilities: ‘’In the main library we have an area for teenagers and a separate area for children, a seating area and we also have a separate meeting room which can be used for our events but also for community events like public meetings.
She explained: ‘’There’s no such thing as a typical library user.
“We’re just open to everybody and you never know whose going to come through the door.
‘’People assume it’s just old people but that’s not the case at all.
“One of our main users is families and we’re super busy with them.”
Maria has been working in libraries for a quarter of a century firstly in Dartmouth then for the last 12 years in Kingsbridge. She explained why she loved her job: ‘’It’s so, so varied and that’s part of the reason the job’s so interesting.’’
‘’It can be anybody from a homeless person looking for somewhere warm and safe, a family or an older person who needs help on the computers.’’
Maria said that libraries have changed enormously over the years:
‘’You’ve got this stereotype of libraries being quiet places where stern librarians say ‘shush’ but it’s absolutely not like that at all. It’s not quiet.
‘’It’s a community space, definitely not just about books anymore although that’s our prime raison d’etre.
‘’It’s just so different. It’s a very social space.
“We have all sorts of groups meeting here such as the hearing clinics with the RNIT, all sorts of children’s events such as Bounce and Rhyme, Stay and Play and Little Stars.
“We work with Public Health Devon and even operate a baby weighing service!
‘’We also have a summer programme of events for the children linked to the Summer Reading Challenge. We’ve got around 280 children signed up to that.
‘’For the adults there’s a really successful Knitting Bee group that meets on a Monday, a Raspberry Pie group which is not baking but computer coding, the Library Stitchers and a free legal clinic once a month.
All in all there’s something for everyone and all ages in Kingsbridge and all South Hams libraries.