History and Library Centre celebrates its first decade

The Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone celebrated its 10th birthday with a series of public events.

Mike Hill, Mark Bateson and Sheila Malloch with visitors Eileen Johnson (right) and Matilda House (front).

Staff dressed in medieval costume provided tours of the archives and others assisted young visitors in a “charter-making workshop” and story-telling session.

Mike Hill, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, oversaw the commissioning and construction of the building in James Whatman Way which brought together the Centre for Kentish Studies, East Kent Archives, the former Central Library at Springfield and the town library in St Faith’s Street into one purpose-built new building

He said: “I was delighted to be present at both the opening of the KHLC and its 10th anniversary celebrations.

“The library service across the county has evolved over the past decade and adapted to cater for the changing needs of the residents of Kent, and it has been really positive to see how KHLC has grown in those years.

Archivist Mark Bateson dons his best Shakespeare outfit to tell young visitors all about the Bard and his work

“The archives are a fantastic resource for research and family history and these sit alongside library book-lending, free Wi-Fi, free access to computers for people who might not have their own equipment and ‘IT Buddy’ sessions to help people get online as well as a range of events and activities for all ages.”

Among the many visitors on Saturday was Maidstone resident Eileen Johnson, who also went along on the day it first opened – 23 April2012.

She said: “I think the library is just wonderful. I was here on the day it opened 10 years ago. I thought it was simply marvellous.

Historic Collections Officer Sheila Malloch helps visitors make their own medieval charters

“To have all the books in one location rather than in St Faiths Street and up the other end of town in Springfield I thought was such a brilliant idea. No more long walks between the two. I love how light and open it is.

“At first, I was not sure about the children’s area being right in the middle, I thought it would be too noisy, but having been in and seen such lovely activities, I really feel it’s perfect just as it is. And the archives are brilliant. How absolutely amazing to have them here in this library.

“The staff are lovely, too. I have been coming here for ten years and everyone is so kind and helpful.”

History and Library Centre celebrates its first decade was last modified: May 2nd, 2022 by Murray Evans