The Libraries

  • New Parks Library
  • Highfields Library
  • St. Barnabas Library

These are secure, museum-quality cases which are displayed three times each year in collaboration with local people and community groups to create exciting exhibitions and displays. Bringing the museum into the libraries helps to enhance the library space and allows the hundreds of library users to see objects from the museum collections.

The groups and individuals we work with come from a wide range of backgrounds and interests including allotment groups, community football teams, faith groups, craft groups, young adults and reminiscence groups. This is an opportunity for them to choose a theme and work with museum professionals to learn the skills of creating an exhibition.

Developing a library exhibition may include research, borrowing objects and collecting stories from local people, visiting a museum, choosing museum objects, creating labels or an exhibition book, displaying the exhibition case, inviting friends and family to the exhibition launch and helping to run a family event or talk to promote the exhibition.

If your group would like to help to create an exhibition in one of these libraries, contact our Community Engagement Team by email.

Memories of Childhood at New Parks Library

As part of developing an exhibition with groups of older people, we hold reminiscence sessions where people can share their stories and memories. The ‘Memories of Childhood’ exhibition at New Parks Library was developed with members of the Braunstone History Group. The group shared stories about their childhoods and looked at how childhood has both changed and stayed the same over time. These stories inspired the object selection from the museums’ collection leading to many objects being displayed for the first time. The stories were put into an exhibition book and the exhibition reflected the universal themes of the group’s experiences.

New Parks Library Exhibition
New Parks Library Exhibition

WWI Exhibition and poppy commemoration at St. Barnabas Library

To commemorate the First World War, exhibitions were created in all three libraries. Rather than working with a local group for each of these, instead we put a radio call out for people whose relatives lived and worked in the area of each library to lend us objects and tell us the stories of their relatives who had served in WWI or lived through the conflict at home in Leicester. The response was overwhelming, with amazing objects and poignant stores flooding in. We were able to display objects such as a WWI commemorative pin cushion, regimental insignia embroidered by a soldier while recovering from his injuries, the photo of a local hero in a frame made from the propeller blades of his plane and sketchbooks from the trenches.

At St. Barnabas Library the craft group wanted to commemorate the heroes listed on the local war memorial, so a project was developed to make a poppy for each man lost in the conflict. These were made in a wide variety of materials and using a range of different techniques, labelled with the name of each man, and displayed by the group in a huge frame. This installation is still in place in the library today, expressing the pride of the local community in their local heroes.

Working on the poppy commemoration
Working on the poppy commemoration