Unique library in Stradbroke up for national award

Stradbroke Library manager Maureen John.

Stradbroke Library manager Maureen John.

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One of the most unique libraries in the country has been shortlisted for a national award.

Stradbroke Library Post Office, based at The Courthouse in Queen Street, launched in 2014. The Courthouse, first built in 1854 at a cost of £554, is now the home of the library, Post Office counter, a community café, and the village’s digital archive.

At one end of the counter we stamp books and at the other we sell books of stamps! Having the Post Office in the library helps us to provide an extra public service to a potentially isolated rural community and it’s a lifeline for many older people.

Maureen John

The library has been named as one of the two finalists in the ‘Social’ category in the EDGE2016 Awards, which will take place in Edinburgh on Thursday.

Before the project was launched the village had been without a shop or a post office, or means for residents to withdraw money, meaning people had to travel at least four miles to access similar services.

Maureen John, Stradbroke Library Manager, said: “I’m delighted we’re one of the finalists for this award and with how successful the post office has been. At one end of the counter we stamp books and at the other we sell books of stamps! Having the Post Office in the library helps us to provide an extra public service to a potentially isolated rural community and it’s a lifeline for many older people.

“It’s also helped to trigger new developments at Stradbroke Courthouse including refurbishment, a new community café and regular themed evening meals in the café for local people.”

The post office has already been a huge success, prompting a change in opening hours to include a post office collection on Mondays.

Monthly visits to the library have increased from just under 1,000 in 2013/14 to an average of about 2,700 per month for the current financial year so far.