The Library Today
The library occupies The Old Court House in the Horse Fair (at the junction of the A4260 and B4031). Contact (tel: 01869 338391).
The library is open for 16 hours per week:
- Mondays and Thursdays 2.00-5.00pm; 5.30pm-7.00pm
- Wednesdays and Saturdays 09.30am-1.00pm
- Tuesdays and Fridays closed
- 24-hour renewal hotline: 0845 1202811. Or telephone the library directly and leave a messge
Public transport and parking:
- There is a bus stop two minutes' walk from the library, and on-street parking in the area.
The library offers the following facilities/services:
- Books on Wheels service for housebound people in the area
- Loan of DVDs
- Loan of audiobooks on CD and cassettes
- Base for a mobile library serving Clifton and Hempton and many more villages in the surrounding area
- Access to photographs of Deddington and other local/neighbouring villages on microfiche
- Organised regular school visits by childen from the Primary School, PFSU and Nursery
- Four 'Story Times' a year in the school holidays for 4-7 year olds
- Support for reading groups and local choral society
- Support for local play-reading group
- Free internet access to Deddington OnLine and Deddington News, our community websites, for information relating to the Parish of Deddington
- Free internet access for those who do not have computers at home, including reference online resources and MS Office programs, including word processing and spreadsheets
- Cherwell Information Point
- Local history corner for books and other publications of local history interest
- Library Service's Information PCs provide access to the online library catalogue, reference online resources, useful websites (including Ancestry which is free) and MS Office
The library also has a large wall-mounted fabric collage made by the Deddington Craft Group in 1991; it depicts the buildings, trades and activities in Deddington through the ages.
Some statistics about the library 2010-11:
- Adult book issues: 9234
- Children's book issues: 6274
- DVD, CD and audiobook issues: 1120
- Number of active book borrowers: 775
- Membership: 976 (population of Deddington Parish 2200 split across 990 households)
- Members as % of population: 44.36%
- Numbers of people living within a half-mile of Dedddington library: 1704
- Numbers of pupils enrolled in schools with a half-mile of Deddington library: 199
For details of the 2011 campaign to Save Deddington Library:
- Initial campaign
- OCC consultation document
- Campaign flyer
- Key facts about Deddington
- List of contacts
Some snippets from the past
The initiative for a Library in Deddington stems from a Memorandum of the Oxfordshire Education Committee (No. 714d) in 1921. It began life in the Town Hall. As an example of the extent to which it was used in its relatively early days, in 1935 19% of the population were members and 7008 books were issued (compared with 51% and 25055 issues in 1997, see above). In 1940 the Town Hall was commandeered by the Home Guard and a new home had to be found. The use of the Weslyan School Room in Church Street was suggested in return for a donation of 1(old) shilling for each opening. In 1941 the librarian resigned because the helpers preferred to support the soldiers' canteen. Shortly afterwards the library moved to Forester's Hall in the Market Place. In 1952 the Local Education Authority gave notice to terminate the tenancy of Forester's Hall and in 1956 the library moved to its present home in the Old Court House. The Court House was built about 1860 as the Magistrate's Court for the area. The barred window of the "lock-up" still exists; the Police House (now a private house) was next door in the Horse Fair.
The following are extracts from a local newspaper report of the official opening: "A new 8,000 book library was opened by Alderman Mrs.Hermione Hitchens, former chairman of Oxfordshire Education Committee. Together with the North Oxfordshire Mobile Library, which was on view outside, it will cater for the needs of both Deddington and the surrounding villages. The guest Speaker at the opening was Professor J.R.R.Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings. A vote of thanks for his speech was proposed by another author, Miss Christina Hole. Mrs Hitchens paid tribute to the Director of Education, Mr. A.R.Chorlton, and Mr. G.R.Wing, headmaster of Deddington Secondary Modern School, for their help and co-operation in starting the new library."
Professor Tolkien's reply to the letter of thanks from the County Librarian is interesting: "Even making allowance for your kindness and courtesy, your letter relieved me, as I was depressed at my wretched and inadequate performance. Even so, I do not think it could merit any fee, and I should feel it much more suitable that I should present a volume to the Deddington Library in memory of a pleasant occasion....."
Over the years, the annual reports of librarians were not always without opinion. For instance, in 1960: "At the beginning of the winter television aerials were being erected all over the village, even in some of the poorest homes, and nearly all are rented. It is noticeable in Banbury that the TV rental shops are among the most affluent. However, within the last fortnight three readers have said they were tired of TV, so perhaps it will not be long before they return to their books." In 1997 a serious crisis was caused by a cut-back in funding by the Oxfordshire County Council. As a result, opening hours were cut from 14 to 11.5 hours but, on the positive side, many people in the parish rallied round to help. The Friends of Deddington Library Group was created and it has achieved a good deal.Following the reinstatement of the "lost" hours, and after consultation with the residents of Deddington and other users of the library, the overwhelming consensus was for Saturday opening. This began in October 2001 then the Library opened from 10-12:30 each Saturday.
In particular, many books in good condition have been donated and those which duplicate existing stock have been sold to produce funds; the Parish Council has agreed to supplement the book purchasing budget for new titles by £1000. The Chairman of the Friends is Geoff Todd, Oak Cottage, Hopcraft Lane, Deddington OX15 0TD. Tel: 01869 338532.On Mondays during term time, the Library opens early at 1:30pm for visits from the infant class, about 30 of whom come with their teacher and two or more helpers to choose books. There are also visits from the older pre-school children who walk down from the Windmill Pre-School.