The Library has been here in the Royal Pump Rooms since 1999, when it moved from its previous home in nearby York Road. The Pump Rooms building itself is 207 years old and was the most famous of Leamington’s spas.
Our library is unique because the building it is in used to be a swimming pool, known as the de Normanville Pool. The pool was built in 1890 and closed in 1989. Some of our customers remember swimming in the pool and looking up at the iron and glass roof while swimming backstroke. Some of the features from the building’s time as a swimming pool still exist, the library basement is in the former swimming pool and even has a sloping floor, the stairs to the basement are the old steps down into the pool and there is beautiful original tile work on the walls in the offices.
We are very lucky to also have great views out across the Pump Room Gardens with its Victorian bandstand.
Leamington’s staff enjoy a variety of hobbies outside of work such as running- one staff member competed in the New York Marathon the year after the 9/11 attacks and is preparing to run the Alcester 10k, rock climbing, walking, crocheting, skateboarding, and singing in choirs.
We have some very keen cooks among our staff – they’re always keen to get their hands on new Cookery books and we are always very happy to sample any of their wares! If you have not visited us before or you are unsure where everything is shelved, then please ask a friendly member of staff to help and they will happily show you where we keep our Cook books!
Other popular genres with staff include Sci-Fi & Fantasy and Young Adult books; staff recommend – “The Music Shop” by Rachel Joyce, “Dear Daughter” by Elizabeth Little, The Graceling series by Kristin Cashore and any of Nina Stibbe’s books.
When asked what they most enjoy about working in the library staff said:
“We love talking to customers about what they are reading”.
“We love interacting with our customers and listening to the stories that they share about their lives. It seems apt in a place full of stories.”
Staff have been so pleased to welcome babies back to Rhyme Time in Leamington – their favourite Rhyme Time songs are include: Round and Round the Garden, I’m Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee and Little Peter Rabbit. There are Rhyme Time sessions twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays, booking is essential and tickets are available from eventbrite.co.uk.
Famous (or infamous!)
Aleister Crowley, once dubbed ‘the wickedest man in the world’ was born in Leamington in 1875!
Mary Dormer Harris – The Leamington History Group tells us that:
Mary Dormer Harris was a remarkable woman. Multi-talented, hard-working, an enthusiastic party-giver with a great zest for life, she had a wide circle of friends young and old. She wrote and published books and plays, lectured in local history at the University of Birmingham and was Vice-President of the Workers’ Education Association and an associate of the Dugdale Society. She was an ardent suffragist, one of the first female members of the Leamington Literary Society and a founder member of the Loft Theatre.
Jet engine inventor Sir Frank Whittle lived in Leamington as a child – you can read more about Frank Whittle and his life over on the Leamington History Group’s website.
In 1994 Mick Jagger visited Leamington Spa and the Royal Pump Rooms to shoot the video clip for the song Sweet Thing.
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