Star Stephen welcomes library visitors

January 04 2022

PEOPLE visiting libraries in Hanham and Kingswood  will hear a familiar voice if they use the Open Access service when the building is not staffed.
Actor and comedian Stephen Merchant, whose TV series The Outlaws was recently a hit for BBC 1, has recorded a number of announcements for the council’s Library service, along with a video highlighting the importance of libraries, which can be found on the council's YouTube channel.
The Hanham-born star made the video and recordings after bumping into a manager on a visit to a local library and said he wanted to highlight the library's "power to change lives through reading".
Stephen said: "I was more than willing to support South Gloucestershire Libraries.
"The service has so much to offer – access to computers, a meeting place to connect with your community, somewhere to study and if you want to find out anything then the library is the place to go.
"But above all these great services, it’s their power to change lives through reading. I would encourage everyone to use their local library.”
A council spokesperson said Stephen had recorded "bespoke audio content" in the form of announcements for the libraries’ Open Access service, which enables users to visit the library seven days per week.
Council cabinet member for communities Rachael Hunt said: "It was really kind of Stephen to record the announcements and the video.
"We want our libraries to be welcoming places, and having a well-known friendly voice with a very recognisable local accent is brilliant.
"Hearing his voice will bring a smile to our users' faces – even when he tells them that the library hours are ending for the day!"
The open Access scheme allows people to access most libraries in South Gloucestershire when staff are not on duty, between the house of 8am and 7.30pm.
The council says more than 100,000 visits have been made using the system since it was introduced.
During lockdown libraries increased online services and made visits to more than 450 people who could not leave their homes.
The service has been returning to normal over the past few months.
To hear Stephen, just visit a South Gloucestershire Library and ask the staff about registering for the Open Access service to use the libraries seven days a week.
To view the video, visit youtube.com/watch?v=BGpI7ApzsqI
For more information on libraries visit www.southglos.gov.uk/libraries.