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Fakenham library 40 and fit!

PUBLISHED: 07:23 23 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:48 07 July 2010

From drawers full of well-thumbed index cards to a national online booking system...

Fakenham library celebrated decades of change at its

40th birthday celebrations on Tuesday.

From drawers full of well-thumbed index cards to a national online booking system...

Fakenham library celebrated decades of change at its

40th birthday celebrations on Tuesday.

A cake in the shape of a book was cut by Norfolk county councillor David Callaby to begin a week of events to mark the 1969 opening of the Oak Street building.

The library underwent extensive renovations in 1997 to remove the upper storey and extend the ground floor and now offers free internet access and a range of educational courses and events.

Digital photography lessons and wine-tasting sessions continued throughout yesterday's celebrations, proving how far the library had come since the days when virtually all it could offer you was four books at a time.

Mr Callaby said: “In all my years as a county councillor I have never had a complaint about Fakenham library, which says more about the place than anything else.

“It is something we should all be proud of.”

Ann Rae has been an assistant at the library since 1978, making her its longest-serving member of staff.

“It was always a friendly place, but nowhere near as lively as it is now,” she said.

“When I first started it was much more sedate. We needed to have everything in its place and we were much more fussy.

“Now we have children and teenagers coming in all the time and helping each other on the computers.

“The biggest change is the computers. When I first came here there was only books and you could only take out four at a time, but now we can order books from anywhere in the country.

“We also have things like the wine-tasting and digital photography; you can learn about much more than books these days.

Community librarian Alan Leventhall said: “In 1969 there were still computers which took up whole rooms, but now we have free access to the internet.

“We want to look at all the changes over the last 40 years and we're looking forwards to the next 40. Who knows what could be possible in the future?”

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