In 2015 Library Stories started a citywide conversation, to discover how libraries are used and valued in Sheffield today

Tracy: Does anybody have a Kindle?

Most: No.

Muriel: What's one of them? Things that you bring a book up on? And you pay for them? I wouldn't have one given to me. They're not books them.

Tracy: We get a lot in here who use both. They like the feel of a book, especially classic books, but then on holiday they'll take a Kindle because they read a lot...

Beryl: I've had a Kindle for over year and I can't fathom out how to put anything on it. It's not my skill.

Tracy: I think we – not us as libraries, but somebody – needs to run courses to show you how to use your smartphones, your Kindles and that. People come in – they go to Curry's and they come in with the box and say "can you show me how to use this?"

Part of a conversation at a Library Stories reminiscence session at Crystal Peaks Library in April 2015.

Library Stories

What’s your library story? Perhaps the library's where you discovered your favourite book, made new friends at a club, or sent your first email.

In 2015, Library Stories started a citywide conversation, to discover how public libraries are used and valued in Sheffield today.

Over 200 library users got involved, sharing memories, illustrations and photos. Together, they create a striking record of love, appreciation and support for Sheffield’s public libraries. This website is just a sample of those stories.

This website is a celebration of our city’s libraries, past and present, and an invitation for you to share your library story.

Working with Sheffield Archives, Library Stories delved into the history of the public library system in Sheffield. It traced the decisions involved in setting up the libraries, and gained a sense of what it was like to use the libraries at the turn of the 20th century. Here, you’ll find a selection of these discoveries, alongside photos of library life over the decades.

Libraries haven’t had it easy in recent years and, over the course of this project, many were in varying states of adjustment to community, associate and co-delivered services. Whatever form they take it’s clear that, to many, local libraries are a lifeline, an invaluable free resource, a source of joy. Read a selection of thoughts on and memories of the city’s libraries, shared with Library Stories on comment cards, at book clubs and reminiscence events, and in one-on-one interviews.

Leave a comment, sharing your thoughts on Sheffield’s libraries.

Library Stories is a joint project by the University of Sheffield and Our Favourite Places, funded by Arts Enterprise.

Thanks to all staff at Sheffield Libraries and Archives for their support with Library Stories, especially Dan Marshall and Dot Morritt for helping spread the word about the project and host interviews. Archival photos courtesy of Picture Sheffield. 'Present' photos by Gemma Thorpe, from a Library Stories reminiscence event at Multi-Story Festival in May 2015.


For further information about the project, contact us.