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Libraries turning over a new leaf

By Herald Express  |  Posted: May 09, 2013

  • purpose-built: Paignton Library in Courtland Road (below) in January 1987. The building is currently empty and up for sale after the building of a new library near the station

  • books on the move: Devon's mobile library pictured in Torbay in November 1986

  • ORIGINAL: The original Brixham library in March, 1992, before it was demolished

  • dignitaries: The opening of Brixham's first library in March, 1934, by Frank Underhill, county library chairman

  • up to date: Brixham librarians with the selection of cassettes in October, 1983

  • story time: Paignton Library, possibly in the 1960s and (inset) the service counter in 1987

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CUTBACKS to Torbay's library services disguise the fact that in the last few years both Paignton and Brixham have gained brand new ones.

Paignton's first library opened in 1935 at 3, Totnes Road encouraged by a petition from townsfolk. In the 1960s it moved to purpose-built accommodation in Courtland Road. Generations of children will recall trips there, like the children pictured here being read a story. Three years ago this too was replaced by a much grander edifice in Great Western Road.

Brixham's first library also opened in the 1930s. A picture shows dignitaries of Devon County Council in 1934 at the formal opening. Despite the limitations of the building, staff worked hard to keep up with the times and in 1983 were pictured showing off the first non-book media available to borrow — a selection of musical cassettes.

The single storey building in Market Street was demolished in 1992 and replaced by the existing, much-improved edition.

The final picture shows the Devon County Council's mobile library service on the streets of Torbay in December 1986, for those bookworms who could not get into town.

With the growing popularity of ebooks it is hard to know what the future holds for traditional libraries, but one way or another they will remain centres of learning at the heart of the community.

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