The Coventry Society held its February meeting at the recently refurbished Earlsdon Carnegie Community Library. Our Chair, Peter Walters, writes….
It’s a far cry from the ruthless business frontier of nineteenth century America to the community asset that is Earlsdon Library these days.
But even US steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie might be intrigued to see what has become of the library founded in his name back in 1913.
Entrepreneurialism in its best sense is now the watchword of the group of local residents who took over the hundred-year-old library when Coventry City Council decided it could no longer fund a library service for Earlsdon.
Now a charitable trust, with an impressive cast of volunteers at least 60 strong, the Earlsdon Carnegie Community Library is beginning to fulfil its mission of becoming a library with community space, rather than just a community space with books.
Alongside its thriving lending library, it now boasts a bookshop, a bulging meetings calendar and an expanding programme of events that includes live music gigs, children’s events, poetry readings and talks from the likes of the celebrated television writer Andrew Davies. There’s even talk of a film club in the next phase of the building’s renaissance.
Five years after their first tentative steps, the trust has now firmly established the library as a community asset with both feet in Earlsdon life. And the building has even begun to take on something of its original appearance, after businessman and local resident Alan Denyer undertook to return the library’s graceful reading room to the way it looked when it opened. Andrew Carnegie would have been impressed.