At its heart the Mechanics’ Institution was about books. In August 1843 a Circulating Library was established in “O” Shop (Works Tool Room). Toolmakers collected together some books donated by friends and so began one of the earliest lending libraries in the country, pre-dating by nine years, the first public lending library at Manchester.
By 1855, the year the Mechanics’ building opened, the Library had a total of 2,542 volumes. On average 1,566 books were borrowed by members, each month. The library occupied two rooms in the original building. A Reading Room, running the width of the building, well lit by large windows at each end and with two fireplaces for comfort on those chilly evenings. Further information about the history of Library can be found here.
The Trust has been forming its own library for several years and now following the fantastic work by volunteers the collection is catalogued.
The collection is over 2000 books and counting including a quantity of original Mechanics’ bound books and other historic Swindon library books from the 1850’s – 1970’s.
The collection spans a range of subjects but includes works relating to Planning, Community Development, local history, heritage, democracy, politics and railways.
Until the Library is officially launched any enquiries should be directed to the Trust by using the contact form on this website or by calling 01793 520592.