Treasure trove of festive treats available at Swindon’s Central Library

With the countdown to Christmas well and truly underway, Swindon residents are being invited to do their festive shopping in the unlikely setting of the town’s main library.

Published: Friday, 29th November 2019

The Library Shop at Central Library in Regent Circus is selling locally-produced gifts from a range of artists and authors which will make the perfect stocking fillers for family and friends.

Wroughton’s Josie Lewis is selling her hand-painted cards and home textiles and was among a host of local people showing off their wares at a special shopping event at the library this week.

Josie, who also has a range of cushions on sale at the library, said: “I think the Library Shop is brilliant as it gives local people like me the chance to showcase my gifts. I started off making Christmas cards and it’s just grown from there.”

Simon Webb is another craftsman who has built up a reputation in recent years of making beautiful pens out of wood. A selection of Simon’s pens are on sale at the library as well as handmade wood-inspired cufflinks.

Local artist Caroline Day was also on hand displaying her items at the Christmas shopping event. Her Rose in Bloom range for Historic England features scarves and bags based on David Austin Roses.

“Historic England support me as a local artist because I paint big florals and they wanted a floral range,” explained Caroline. “The design is based on an original oil painting and the scarves and bags make beautiful gifts, perfect for Christmas.

“It is lovely the library has organised this opportunity to show our work and there is a real festive feel with the local choir.”

Swindon Borough Council’s Sing Your Socks Off choir provided entertainment at the shopping event, which also featured face painting and book signings from local authors Frances Bevan, Angela Atkinson and Children’s Library patron Steve Antony.

Well-known Swindon artist Ken White was in attendance to sign copies of his book ‘Ken White Muralist and Painter’.

Fellow artist Dona Bradley was proudly displaying her Magic Roundabout-themed baby wear, but her collection of work featured all manner of gifts with a special local theme. Dona used to work for English Heritage but has been producing cards, tea towels, bags, mugs, coasters, place mats and jigsaws full-time for the last year.

Dona said: “Dawn [Heavens, Library shop manager] spotted some of my cards and she asked me if I could do anything else, so I came back in with lots of samples and she said she would have it all!

“Dawn has been one of my biggest supporters and has given me the confidence to develop my business. I came up with the idea of the baby grows and baby t-shirts because staff in the library noticed there was a real demand from people wanting Swindon-themed baby clothes.”

The shop in Central Library also stocks dozens of books from local authors charting many aspects of Swindon’s history, including exclusive titles published by the Council’s Local Studies team.

Christmas shoppers can browse the festive treats available in the Central Library shop between 10am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday, between 10am and 4pm on Saturdays and between 11am and 3pm on Sundays.

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