Book ‘em, Danno

Given the ongoing economic woes, many people are on the lookout to save a bit of money. So why buy new books, when you can borrow them for free from your local library. Lewisham’s library service does sterling work, as BC recently found out when we paid a visit to Crofton Park Library.

Housed in a beautiful Victorian building, the library is small but well-stocked. There are around 10 computers for public use, which were very popular during our visit – mostly for internet use and word processing. The library also has a stand of national and local newspapers, a DVD lending service, and a fascinating set of local history pamphlets for sale at very reasonable prices.

As for the book selection, BC was favourably surprised. We’ll be honest – we were expecting a tattered set of Catherine Cookson novels, along with a few dusty Penguin Classics.
In fact, whoever buys Lewisham’s library stock is clearly up-to-date and has catholic taste – in fiction, there’s everything from Kerry Katona to Patrick Kavanagh, and the vast majority of titles are modern. Booker prize winners sit alongside chick lit and the latest detective novels. There’s also a substantial non-fiction section, two bookcases full of books aimed at the teen market, and a separate children’s area complete with reading mats and mini-tables and chairs. Other than internet users, young children and their parents seemed to be the biggest demographic while BC was there, although this may have something to do with going on a weekday.

Lewisham’s libraries are fairly accessible for commuters, though – another surprise to BC. Most open late – often up to 8 or 9pm – on some weeknights (see below), and some offer Sunday opening too. In another nod towards accessibility, you can renew your books and check the catalogue online. And, conveniently, you can return books to any library in the borough – so you’re not tied to one location.

Here’s full details of libraries in the borough – if you want to join, just take along proof of address, such as a council tax or utility bill, and away you go. Couldn’t be easier …

Public Libraries in & near Brockley

Central Lewisham:
199/201 Lewisham High St
(open til 8pm Tues & Thurs, and 1-4pm Sundays)

New Cross:
283/5 New Cross Road
(open til 8pm Tues & Thurs)

Crofton Park:
Brockley Rd (by Crofton Park train station)
(open til 8pm Tues & Thurs)

Laurence House
(open til 8pm Tues & Thurs)

Blackheath Village:
3-4 Blackheath Grove
(open til 8pm Tues & Thurs)

Forest Hill:
Dartmouth Road
(open til 8pm Tues & Thurs, and 10am-4pm Sundays)

Wavelengths Leisure Centre:
Griffin St, Deptford
(open til 8pm Tues & Thurs)