Hampshire County Council’s Ringwood Library is celebrating 50 years since its official opening – with a chance connection to the famous Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The album was released in 1967 – the same year the library opened with two members of staff called Mrs Sargeant and Mrs Pepper.
According to the library’s photo records from the period, the two library assistants worked together around the time of the library’s official opening in April 1967 – coinciding with the famous album release, shortly afterwards, in May 1967.
Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside, Councillor Andrew Gibson, said: “It’s quite a remarkable coincidence that both Mrs Sargeant and Mrs Pepper worked at Ringwood Library at the same time as the influential and chart-topping Sgt. Pepper album.
Unfortunately, we don’t know much more about Mrs Sargeant and Mrs Pepper, but I’m sure library staff and visitors at the time would have remarked at the quirk of fate.
“Looking back, we know libraries in the 1960s had a strong emphasis on reference books and enquiry work – all set within a very quiet environment until the hand bell was rung to mark the end of each day.
“Today, our libraries are quite different – vibrant, modern spaces with family activities, cafés, public computers and digital equipment as well as the more traditional book borrowing and quieter study areas.
It’s great to see how Ringwood Library has transformed over the last five decades whilst remaining at the heart of the local community.”
The County Council is investing to modernise libraries across Hampshire, in line with the Hampshire Library Service Transformation Strategy to 2020.
This includes new facilities and services such as self-service book borrowing, coffee shops, and digital technology spaces to explore Lego robotics and virtual reality, to help attract more customers and place libraries firmly at the heart of communities.