Looking Back at Bridgwater Library Reopening after Tragic Fire In 1978

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Bridgwater Library was reopened a week like this in 1980 after a disastrous fire that almost brought it down to ashes. Staff members at the library worked all day and night to move over seven tonnes of books to the library.

The library was housed at the Methodist Church along King Street after the tragic fire in 1978. The fire completely destroyed one section of the library leading to huge losses.

The cause of the fire was attributed to an electric fault near the main entrance. Fortunately, there were no casualties reported as the library had a well-designed emergency response mechanism.

The Methodist Church offered to house the library in its premises until the reconstruction process was complete. The library announced that all was set for the grand reopening one week earlier. The library staff members were required to move over 14,000 books to the library to ensure it meets the re-opening deadline.

They were joined by 30 volunteers as they hauled the books across the 50-yard lane from the church. The volunteers were majorly composed of the church members who regularly used the library resources.

Excited by the reopening, the volunteers expressed their joy following the reopening as it will bring to an end the occasional overcrowding at the church. Library operations at the church were limited due to space.

The library announced that the opening times will be 9:30 AM to 5 PM on weekdays and 9:30 AM to 2 PM on Saturday. The library opening hours are unchanged until today except for Friday where it closes at 4 PM.

The library has since then been fitted with numerous facilities such as lift, photocopier, audiobooks, DVDs, fax machines, wheelchair access, magazines and newspapers, automatic doors, and free Wifi.

In addition, users can also access all the library resources on the LibrariesWest digital site using the library catalogue.


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