Friday, 6 February 2009

Ramsgate Library

I went to the newly rebuilt Ramsgate Library yesterday, I didn’t take any pictures, as I am still a little cautious after my previous experience, so the ones in this post are old ones.

The library has been rebuilt excellently and there is a very good ratio of books to half-hearted attempts to compete with Blockbuster.

I got a new library card as mine was to old for the new system, an added advantage to having an up to date card is that it allows access to online reference books, that the library has paid a subscription for, (note your number needs to be entered using a capital D) one I use a lot is The Dictionary of National Biography, in book form it costs over £3,000,000 and takes up a lot of space being 60 large volumes.

I digress I am reading a series of children’s books at the moment and they had the one I wanted to read next which was also very useful.

I couldn’t see any signs of a sprinkler system, unless it is incorporated in the smoke detectors, so I will check up on it, as we don’t want repeat performance.

The only major problem I could see was that there isn’t enough shelving space, it is a case of tastefulness of the interior design overriding the primary function of the building, which is to a repository of books. This meant that some of the non-fiction sections were rather weak. Its very difficult to judge the range of fiction in a library for me, as the titles people borrow differ quite a lot from those that sell secondhand, for instance the large range of Mills and Boon they have in most public libraries don’t sell at all in a secondhand bookshop and quite a lot of fiction that never makes it into paperback if published pretty much exclusively for public libraries, this is no bad thing as it helps many authors get started.

The local history section was a little strange but I expect this is due to teething problems rather than any long-term problem, all but one of my cheap reprints was behind glass something that defeats the object of making them available to everyone. All 120 titles are in print and under £10 well under the averagely, average price of the other lending stock. The balance of the antiquarian and collectable books in the archive left a lot to be desired, so I don’t know if the central archive was being a bit mean however I am sure it will get sorted out in the fullness of time. They only have two of the four old local papers on microfiche, I don’t know if this is due to space restrictions or cost. For example they had three copies of Irelands history of Kent, he was noted for producing fake Shakespeare plays, his history of Kent is a plagiarism of Hasted the main county history that they don’t seem to have. At the time Irelands history was published many doubted that he had actually visited the county.

All said and done we now have one really good publicly funded leisure facility in Ramsgate and many thanks to all concerned.

Mainly though one is aware of the great sigh of relief that it wasn’t ruined by having a Thanet Gateway in it.


  1. Just to let you know Michael - many of the books have not yet been put out at the new Ramsgate Library this is due to logistical and time constraints. I think they have done a fantastic job in the two week run-up to opening but then I would be bias. As for the local History what you see in that section is mainly what the people of Thanet and further afield have donated - so some will be doubled up on and many will be missing. I'm sure if anyone has anything they wish to donate then the Library would happily accept for future generations of happy researchers.


  2. TDUBU Please let me know if you are missing any of my publications I think I have donated one of each, but may have missed the odd one, if we can play swaps with the antiquaria as I could help balance things up a lot.

  3. TDUBU, Is what you see in the local history section the entire collection or is there more to come.

    I have taken a few bits in already, once I know what the constraints are I can start seeking out items for the archive like I did for 12 years for the Margate Museum.

    Who would be the main contact for local history at the library.

  4. Yes Michael I agree,especially the great sigh of relief that It has'nt been ruined like Margate with the awful gateway-well done to all who opposed Ramsgate having TDC services In there.

  5. Why do we need to waste money on a public library in Ramsgate? perhaps the land would be better used for social housing. Knock it down and save our taxes

  6. 15.20 “Yet must thou sail after knowledge
    Knowing less than drugged beasts phtheggometha. Thasson” (invoking Montallegre Maddona) Ezra Pound

  7. Or how about building both a library and plenty of social housing? In one of the more economically depressed parts of the UK, one would think that a central facility for learning, to tie in with an extra college of further and higher ed or two would go down well.

    If you think it is a waste of your taxes, might I suggest passing the cost on to the people who make millions out of the labour of Thanet residents each year.

  8. Dave with the Library its position is dictated because local people wanted it rebuilt in shell of the old library, we do pretty much have what you are suggesting at the Marlowe Academy.

  9. Michael, i believe that when downfast cleared the building a lot of the local studies and history got sent to Yorkshire to be cleaned. now it is sitting ready to come out of the deep freeze so it should be back towards the end of this year

  10. The new library is an asset to the people of thanet,it also shows what a library can be. i would like to say that it is not just the people of thanet who have created this it is a mixture of KCC staff, FORL and Barwicks - together all of these people haved worked really hard to make the fantastic library
    Fabulous Library...


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