Remembering the day Clayton Green Library led a high-tech revolution

Branch librarian Janet Proctor and her staff  attend to their first customer, Jill Ackroyd, 30 years ago
Branch librarian Janet Proctor and her staff attend to their first customer, Jill Ackroyd, 30 years ago

Clayton Green Library – the first in Lancashire to boast a computerised lending service – has reached a milestone anniversary this month.

The much-loved community building, based in Library Road, Clayton Green, opened its doors 30 years ago, and Flashback can share a story from the 1985 archives.

Bookworm Rowan Stokeld appeared in the Guardian for her reading achievements

Bookworm Rowan Stokeld appeared in the Guardian for her reading achievements

The newspaper’s coverage of the grand opening on November 2 that year reads: “The county’s first 
micro-chip library, at Clayton Green, opened its doors to the public this week.

“The library, which has been installed with a computerised lending service, welcomed its first customer.

“Jill Ackroyd, from Clayton-le-Woods, was the first person through the door to try the new equipment. Pictured serving Jill, far left, is branch librarian Janet Proctor and the staff.”

Another article, from 1989, celebrates the achievements of bookworm Rowan Stokeld.

“The club aims to encourage children to read lots of books but is in no way a competition or a race.”

Jayne Chambers, who is the present-day library frontline officer at Clayton Green Library, said: “Today we run a children’s reading activity called Lancashire Reading Trail, which encourages all children to read.

“To complete the trail, they have to read 50 books and write a review or give a member of staff their review of the books.

“Last week, a lady came into the library with her certificate for a similar initiative from 1989, called the Magpie Book Club.

“She was the first child to get the gold award since the library opened.”

The article from the time reads: “Ten-year-old Rowan Stokeld received a gold award in the Magpie Book Club run at Clayton Green Library.

“The club aims to encourage children to read lots of books but is in no way a competition or a race.

“A Book Club list is displayed at the library, and having read a book on the list, a young reader has a star added to a record card.

“Ten stars bring a bronze certificate and badge, another 25 books means a silver award certificate, book token and badge, and then after a further 50 books the reader has a gold award certificate, book token and badge.

“Rowan, who lives in Watkin Road, Clayton-le-Woods, and is a pupil at Westholme School, Blackburn, went to the library last week to receive her latest award, and found there were other gifts too.

“Library staff presented one of her favourite books, The Secret Garden, along with notepaper and envelopes.

“With Rowan in our picture are Mrs Lynn Fenton, the district children’s librarian, and Mr Stephen Bailey, Clayton Green branch librarian.”