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“Needs to sell itself.”

Plymouth Proprietary Library
Ranked #99 of 179 things to do in Plymouth
Attraction details
Reviewed August 9, 2012

My neighbour is a 'subscriber' and pays about £1 a week to use the private/independent library. She goes to some of their events. I have been taken along to an open day and once after that when she thought I was showing some interest. It's difficult. It is quite a closed inclusive set up. The book stock, maybe 20k or thereabouts is wide ranging. There are one or two pleasant rooms in the old building. But as others may have said life and literacy and access has changed so much that it is difficult to see quite how this place fits other than into local tradition. There is now a small website which hints at a flicker of awareness of change and evolution but if they want to draw in new members, increase the purchase fund and bring the place to life it will need a good deal more. There may have been recent changes but I last visited I felt that a few hundred pounds on paint and light fittings together with some volunteers over a few weekend would make 1000% difference to the feel of the library. No doubt I have now also triggered the wrath of the crusading defender who has confronted past contributors but please bear in mind that the purpose of Tripadvisor is to draw in candid and straightforward comments for the benefit of potential users and the managers of the attraction or institution being reviewed.

Future contributors might consider what the PPL offers that is not available free elsewhere and better presented.

5  Thank PlongeurV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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8 - 11 of 11 reviews

Reviewed June 8, 2012

Nice idea. A subscription library with a wide selection of general interest books. But the world has moved on. Kindles, Amazon cheap hard copies generally delivered next day, Internet resources for anything arty or reference. A well intentioned friend took me on a visit a few weeks ago but I am afraid that the visit put me off rather than enthused me to become a member. Sadly it is dark, verging on the dingy, the rooms are sombre with basic bookcases and little to fire any interest. It looks as though cash flow is slow and low and the number of newer books dispiriting. I really wonder whether there is any longer the demand or need for this venerable old institution. Pity.

9  Thank ChasC_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2011

This library is a place of great potential; having lost the core of its stock during the war. It has been a very self-effacing club but I understand there is a younger, educated and more dynamic President in the place now who has some progressive ideas and is making things happen. Whether they should stay in the current building remains to be seen but retaining their autonomy is important as is the need for some scholarly staff to bring the place up a level so as not to resemble a corner-shop. The librarian I spoke to a few months ago didn't seem to know much about books.

43  Thank DroftheArts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2011

Once one of the most impressive and important literary historical artistic geographical and scientific resources in the west country, funded by local toffs and worthies and housed for a century and a half in a delightful classical building in an upmarket stylish part of Plymouth in Regency times. Victim of a direct hit by an enemy bomb in the early part of the Blitz before the membership and found the resources or impetus to remove the tens of thousands of important books to a place of safety. Most burnt and a fantastic building was left a smouldering shell much too far gone to be resurrected. The membership held together and accepted the opportunity to occupy a couple of floors of a large residential early Victorian corner house on the corner of Alton Terrace at the top of North Hill near Mutley Plain. Nothing like what had been lost but a resource for the subscribers, mostly middle middle and upper middles without substantial libraries of their own but wanting ready acces to a wide range of books. For the last decade or so, that class and interest group seems to be less evident in Plymouth society but the library remains popular and has many open days to show the stock style and concept to new generations and the operation remains a useful and to newcomers an unexpected welcome and intriguing facility. Recommended.

TRIPADVISOR, please locate this listing under PLYMOUTH - THINGS TO DO, and not under just the general DEVON entry where no one will find it.

28  Thank Jannerbloke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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