Michael Byrne memories of South Yardley Library

by Michael Byrne memories of South Yardley Library

We then had Birmingham’s ‘year of music’ – 1992, I think it was. And, er, loads of people came to the concerts that were arranged at South Yardley. And the Head of Music then, John Gough [ph], said, ‘Oh, you can’t let this stop now. I’ll help you, start a concert series at the library’, so we did. Erm, we started concerts in 1993… ah, I remember we had, erm, nearly 150 people for one concert and the people were out sitting in the hallway, there were so many of them. The response from the community was brilliant to those sorts of activities.


It was one of these very traditional, wooden libraries, wooden floors, high wooden presses, er, with the emphasis on… erm, making available books. I remember there was, erm, quite a large area devoted to, erm… music scores. Uh, uh, all the libraries had specialised in… particular areas and South Yardley specialised in art history and in also, also in music. And so there were all these fantastic scores that, er, you could borrow.


Well, they were having one of these re-organisations in the late 1980s, erm, prompted by, reduced money and also different ideas on how, er, people… how the service should be managed and developed. And, erm, I got the job of librarian at South Yardley Library in 1989.
There was such a range of people there, erm, and… it, it was so interesting, working with, uh, uh, [ph] the people that came in. They… were interested in working as volunteers, erm, they were interested in developing community activities in the room. And they were such nice people. And, er, you know, we did manage to get a few things going, er, in the library, during the four years that I w, was there. And I found it incredibly rewarding, working with the population, o, of Yardley.


The population at Hay Mills was definitely changing. It had been largely white working class but it, a lot of erm… black and Asian people were starting to move into, erm, Hay Mills, and you could see the difference in the, erm, kids that came in with the classes. So, of course, other issues, erm, became apparent… erm… and we had to start thinking in terms of outreach. Not just… people coming into the library to avail themselves of what we could offer them but we also felt we needed to go out and promote the library, and more widely. You couldn’t assume, for example, that people, knew that they could borrow books for free, or knew that they could find things out for free.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mercurial Arts
Heritage Lottery Fund
Oasis Academy Hobmoor