Friday 31 May 2019

Ramsgate Library and the future of public libraries

If you live locally you probably know that Ramsgate Library burnt down in 2004 and was rebuilt and reopened about ten years ago. Now the whole question of what to do about public libraries has come to the fore with public cuts and technology.

With physical books, which working in a bookshop is a world I understand a bit, the library in one shape or form or another has been part of the world of books for well over 2,000 years with the oldest libraries still functioning being well over 1,000 years old.

With public libraries the main problem is the cost of running them compared to the number lends, which here in Kent boils down to, every book borrowed from a library for free cost the taxpayers about £3.

In a world where you can buy the majority of printed books online for around £3 including postage there are some ethical questions that need to be resolved, along with this is the issue of the public library service allowing library members to borrow E-Books without visiting the libraries.

The old fashioned library with "SILENCE" at the centre of the rules has mostly gone, but what has replaced it seems fairly dysfunctional. I think there is a need for some sort of leisure focused around literature that is both free and focused, but just what form it should take I don't quite know.

In Ramsgate one of the main functions of the library is school homework and revision and lack of viable and dedicated space is an issue.

Another use is as an internet cafe, however with most people having a tablet or smartphone this is becoming less of an important aspect.

Ramsgate is a Carnegie Library and I suppose there may be some part of the various Carnegie institutions that could help with improving the situation.

Ramsgate Library housed a museum before the fire and there may be a place for the group setting up a museum for Ramsgate in the scheme of things.

My take is that £3 per lend and a weak definition of what the role of public libraries should be in the future isn't a good position for the libraries to be in.

 This is the old library in Margate, the situation with Margate Library is different as it is mostly used as the first point of contact for local government.

I don't think this works very well either, perhaps part of the libraries should go back to the "SILENCE" rule.

Here in the bookshop it was mostly topping up Bygone Kent local history magazine, we sell back issues to walk in customers for 99p each.

Link to the picts of the mags we put out today

Link to a few Ramsgate photos from this evening

Thursday 30 May 2019

Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Margate

 Broadstairs Albion Street around 1900 I would guess.

 Note the free journey to the flying ground, in the early days of aviation various aviation firms offered "joy rides" for a fayre from a field.

 This is another inner basin decoration at Ramsgate Harbour probably 1950s
 This is Ramsgate sands and probably before WW1 because of the bathing machines, like ordinary people getting the vote the experience of the First World War put an end to Victorian beach propriety

 This is the construction of one of Margate's lifeboat houses and slipways next the jetty

A very long day mostly buying books for Michaels's Bookshop in Ramsgate, which is where I work.

Whitstable was the main town where I bought books

This is the link to the photos I took when I was there

Once again the number of closed shops is worrying and I think an issue that government needs to address if we want to retain towns as communities. I don't think an English Market Town society based mostly around a nighttime drinking culture will work.

Back to work in the bookshop tomorrow

This is the link to the pictures of the books we put out yesterday.


Wednesday 29 May 2019

Old Ramsgate and Margate pictures, minor ramble.

 This is Ramsgate's Western Undercliff probably 1960s
 as we learnt to our cost you have to have a constructive tourism focused council for this

This link takes you to a few photos of the 2015 sprint

This picture was taken outside Wetherspoons Pavilion probably around 1910, the train has gone down the tunnel through the Sands Station, now the derelict Pleasurama site over the turntable which was by the lift which you can see in the background. This happened on numerous occasions and sometimes killed or injured a few people.

When I did bar work, after work as a sort of mechanic or in the school hols back in the 60s and 70s the building in the background was still called The Refectory, all of the ullage went in the mild, including everything left in the cleared glasses I didn't work there for long. Back in the day I soon learnt that as I would be in a bar after work in the evenings I might just as well be standing behind it and being paid to chat and drink.

The man chucking bucketfuls of water onto Harbour Parade is getting the water out of the water tank which is part of the coal tender towed behind the steam locomotive. He is doing this to make it lighter and therefore easier to get back on the rails.

A busy day in the bookshop and I am reminding people who have books they want to sell to send us pictures of the spines.

 a couple of examples from the bookshop stock
you can either bring you phone or camera into the bookshop and show us the photos or you can email them or share the folder.