100 years of Ipswich County Library - our new exhibition launches this week

June 12, 2024
May 22, 2024
James Powell
An old picture of Ipswich Library courtesy of Suffolk archives

A special exhibition launches this week as part of the celebrations to mark Ipswich County Library’s centenary.

With support from Suffolk Archives, staff from Ipswich County Library and Suffolk Libraries’ Arts team have put together a display showcasing images from the past, historic books, objects, and memorabilia relating to the library’s 100 years of service the local community.

From Thursday 23 May until the end of the year, the exhibition will be on display in the library’s corner space on the ground floor, commemorating the library’s spirit and its place in the town’s history, providing a safe space for transient communities for 100 years and beyond.

The library building itself is a key part of the exhibition, highlighting features such as the beautiful stone carvings above the arched entrance on Northgate Street and the grand ceilings and windows in the Northgate Reading Room. The exhibition will include other supporting elements including a find and seek trail.

Charmain Osborne, Executive Library Manager for Ipswich County Library, said:

“Ipswich County Library is one of the town’s best loved community spaces. It’s a listed building with a fascinating history and has seen many different events and changes over the years. We’re delighted to be launching this exhibition to share the stories and memories associated with the library over the past century and hope everyone enjoys taking a look!”

Suffolk Libraries are still on the look-out for more stories from the community in relation to Ipswich County Library and also the historic role of libraries in the town to share throughout the year.

The ‘Ipswich 100’ celebrations kicked off in 30 April with a sold-out author talk with journalist and novelist Mike Gayle. The library will host other events during the year culminating with a live celebration event in the library on Tuesday 3 September.

On 27 August at 7:30pm author Kate Thompson will be talking to us about her career so far and her two novels, The Little Wartime Library and The Wartime Book Club. Tickets are £5 each. This event includes an audience Q&A and book signing. Tickets can be booked online.

On 12 September at 7.30pm lecturer and psychoanalyst Salley Vickers will be giving a talk about her career so far and her book The Librarian. Tickets are £5 each. This event includes an audience Q&A and book signing. Tickets can be booked online.

Other special events include:

We've also put together a special recommended booklist supporting the 100th anniversary.

This project is part of Suffolk Libraries’ Community Arts Offer which is funded by Arts Council England.

Due to the library’s busy schedule of activities, it will not be possible to view the exhibition at the following times:

Mondays from 10am to 11.30am, Tuesdays from 2.15pm to 3.45pm, Wednesdays from 10am to 11.30am and 1pm-3pm, Sundays from 2.15pm to 3.30pm and the first Friday of the month from 1-3pm.

On Tuesdays 10.15-11.45am an existing group uses the space but it should still be possible to view the exhibition. Visitors are just asked to be mindful of the other people using the space.

Submit your story

Suffolk Libraries would still love to hear from anyone with an anecdote or memory of Ipswich County Library. Check out our earlier story for more details.

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