If it's been a long time since you've been to a public library, it's time to get back into one and see how they've changed. Or if you are a library regular and you already know that each one of them has their own little features and eccentricities, it's time to add Preston Library to your list.
To begin with, the entry landscaping has been redeveloped. It surprises with a rubber seating structure, a sandpit and astroturf tunnels through which children can climb. The library entrance is decorated by a couple of long held, public art sculptures; 'Well Place Preston' by Zabelski Han (which pays homage to horses as the work animals that helped shape Preston's early history) and Reg Parker's classic formalist piece are both worth a look.
Libraries are no longer quiet places but vibrant hubs for learning. In them, people discuss their thoughts out loud and teach each other how to explore the various, multi-resources. Preston Library has audio books, DVDs, CDs and is particularly big on providing internet access to its patrons. It has a streamlined booking system so that everyone gets a fair chance to use one of the many computers provided and also supplies wireless internet for library members who bring in their own device.
Preston Library offers about twenty study-desk spaces that face outwards, overlooking the courtyard garden. There are also group study tables, where tutors meet with their students and parents read aloud to their children. Other spaces include the Young Adult section, full of teenage favourites and graphic novels. Beginning readers have their own tucked away expanse of floor on which to sit, play and investigate the many picture story books on the shelves.
It's a great place to take a break on the weekend between visiting stores in the busy shopping precinct outside. If planned well, you can spend a whole morning out in the local area, stop for lunch in one of the many Chinese or Thai restaurants on High Street and then, relax the afternoon away in the library with a magazine from one of the seventy titles like Vogue, New Idea and Top Gear.
If you're in a hurry, you can borrow books using the self check-out stations but my advice is to linger long, opening your mind to all of the ideas and experiences that the library has to offer.