A brief history
The wish for a library facility had been identified in the Hamble Parish Plan back in 2008. Following the cessation of the HCC mobile library service in 2016 Eastleigh Borough Council acquired the site of the former Barclays Bank and appointed a project team to work on proposals.
In the Autumn of 2017 approval was given to demolish the old building and build a new community facility/library. During the following months it became apparent there was a keen body of volunteers interested in supporting the project. A working party was set up to visit similar local establishments to view how they operate and to identify good practices and features that could be used in Hamble. Other initiatives were also explored including the ‘Tea and Teach’ scheme offered by Barclays Bank which was fully booked and surgeries with the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Neighbourhood Policing Team.
In the Autumn of 2018 work was nearing completion. At that point a Management Group was formed and the training for volunteers began. The library was stocked with approximately 1,200 books provided by the Hampshire Library Service and also a call was put out to the local community for donations. A very positive response was received for both adults’ and children’s books, fiction and non-fiction. At this stage it operated as an independent library service but as it did not receive any support from HLS it was decided to operate as a book exchange which made the process more streamlined. The volunteers worked tirelessly to unpack and sort the books to maximise shelf space. This was lead by a volunteer with librarian experience who continues to work hard on the rotation of books.
Other facilities available to visitors included work stations, computers, photocopier and printer. In mid-November 2018 HPC signed the licence agreement with Eastleigh Borough Council to take over the Mercury building. The Mercury Library and Community Hub was finally ready to open in April 2019. At the end of that year Hamble Parish Council handed over the day-to-day management of the Mercury to Eastleigh Borough Council in collaboration with the Mercury Management Group.
Membership numbers continue to grow and our range of activities and charitable fundraising events are well supported.
Before - the former Barclays Bank site
After - the Library and Community Hub opened in April 2019