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What's on at Wiltshire libraries in May and June

There's lots on offer at Wiltshire libraries in May and June.

Published 7 May 2024

There's lots on offer at Wiltshire libraries in May and June.

As well as providing a vast range of books and eBooks and free computer access, libraries in Wiltshire also act as a social space for the community and host a range of cultural and educational events throughout the year including regular reading groups, digital support appointments and rhyme time sessions.

Local History Month

May is Local and Community History Month and Wiltshire Council is celebrating local history with an array of events and exhibitions at libraries across the county.

The aim of the month is to increase awareness of local history, promote history in general to the local community and to engage with the local community to help them discover how to find out more about, and enjoy, the county.

Wiltshire library staff have worked with colleagues in Heritage Services based at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre to plan a series of events and exhibitions. Events are running throughout May and a full list of events and booking information is available at Libraries news updates.

Libraries in Wiltshire and the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Chippenham have resources available to help people research their family history, including free access to various online services such as the British Newspaper Archive and Ancestry. The following libraries will be holding introductory sessions on using Ancestry for family history research on the library computers:

  • Salisbury Library - Thursday 16 May
  • Westbury Library - Monday 20 May
  • Malmesbury Library - Friday 31 May

The British Newspaper Archive gives online access to millions of newspaper articles from the British Library newspaper collections including articles from the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and libraries staff will be showing people how to make the most of this service at the following libraries:

  • Warminster Library - Monday 13 May
  • Salisbury Library - Thursday 16 May

Throughout May, Corsham Library staff are also offering one-to-one Ancestry and British Newspaper Archive appointments at dates and times agreed at booking. Please pop into Corsham Library to make a booking.

The Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre is home to the Wiltshire and Swindon Archive and the Wiltshire Local Studies collection. The purpose-built history centre holds records that tell the story of the county and its people since the 12th century. Located in Cocklebury Road, Chippenham, it is also home to a range of services supporting heritage across the county. These include the Conservation and Museums Advisory Service and Wiltshire Buildings Record and Archaeology Service. The history centre is open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Reading Well for dementia

A new Reading Well for dementia scheme is launching in Wiltshire libraries to support people living with dementia as well as their carers, family members and children. The collection of books has been chosen and endorsed by leading health professionals and co-produced with people who have lived experience. It will launch on 13 May 2024 at the start of Dementia Action Week.

The scheme promotes understanding and helps to break down stigma around dementia. Some of the recommended books provide information and advice whereas others include personal stories or are children's fiction. Reading Well books are free to borrow from Wiltshire libraries, and many of the titles are also available to access digitally as e-books and audiobooks. The booklist will be available on the Wiltshire library catalogue from 13 May. People can browse the Library catalogue (opens new window).

Reading Roadshow

The council has successfully secured funding from Arts Council England to host author talks in Wiltshire libraries, with the first three events taking place in June:

  • Crime panel with top local crime authors, Andy Maslen, Anna Britton and Nikki Copleston - Salisbury Library on Saturday 8 May from 2.30pm
  • Talk from best-selling author, Libby Page, about her new book Lifeline - Trowbridge Library on Thursday 13 June from 7.30pm
  • Talk from award winning writer, novelist and critic, Louise Doughty, many of her works have been adapted for television - Chippenham Library on Friday 28 June from 7.30pm

Tickets for all of these events are free and people can book online at TicketSource: Wiltshire Council Library Service (opens new window).

In June there will also be children's talks from popular authors including Sophie Cleverly, Guy Bass, Mike Brownlow and Fleur Hitchcock, details will be announced shortly on social media and at participating libraries. People can follow Wiltshire Libraries on X: Wilts Libraries (opens new window). A full list of library Facebook pages can be found at Libraries - Contact us.

Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Cabinet Member for Libraries, said: "As well providing a vast range of books and eBooks, our libraries act as the focal point of our communities, offering educational and cultural activities and advice and support. I'm proud that we've been able to keep our libraries open across Wiltshire, with the help of our fantastic staff and volunteers. The benefits our libraries bring to local communities are evident in how well used they are, with over 1.25 million library visits in the past year.

"There's so much to do at Wiltshire libraries. I encourage people to visit our website or pop down to their local library and find out about all the events and activities they can get involved with."

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