Basingstoke Discovery Centre

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28 reviews so far


04/07/2014 12:59pm


The building feels light and spacious and the range of available books are very good, but I am sad that there is no longer a quiet study area.

A few map cabinets and book shelves simply do not block out the noise of noisy children, noisier adults, and people chatting in the coffee shop area. And yes, I check the website for events to avoid 'noisy' times (and I think it is great that you put on these events), but it is no quieter outside of these times.

I don't understand why the study area hasn't been relocated to the other end of the library, where it is quieter, or why there can't be dividing walls added.

Basingstoke Discovery Centre replies

Thank you for your comment.

We are constantly reviewing how to make the best of the open plan layout of Basingstoke Discovery Centre, within budget restraints.

The number of people coming into the building has increased over the years since the major refurbishment in 2010. The fact that the coffee shop and children's area are busy means that more people are accessing our facilities.

At the 'other end', though it appears quiet, often it isn't due to 2 banks of computers and the Community Room, which is regularly hired out, as well as being used for some of our events. The self service machines are set to bleep to aid visually impaired customers and the main entrance is busy with people coming and going or using the toilet facilities.

In the future, if any funding became available to look at the layout of the building, the siting of a quiet study area would be something we would review.



21/05/2014 09:04am


I have been a regular user of the Library and its study area for a long time. Before the refurbishment into a 'discovery centre' the study area was tucked away in the corner and there was little distraction and noise. I understand that this has had to evolve and love the coffee shop and the events that are held, all of which encourage users into the library. What I question however is the location of the study area? It is right next to the children's area AND the coffee shop. Surely a little thought into the layout and we could have kept the traditional 'quiet' area for people to work in, sheltered away from the hustle and bustle of 'modern libraries'.

Basingstoke Discovery Centre replies:

Thank you for your comment and we are glad that you love the coffee shop and the events that we hold.

Located between the study area, children's section and coffee shop, there are several rows of bookshelves and map cabinets. We are restricted by the design of the building which dates from the 1970s and was always open plan. Consequently, noise will carry from one area to another, particularly with children's activities. The layout was the best arrangement available when it was redesigned in 2010, taking into consideration all of our customers' needs.

We would recommend that you check the website or our brochures for events which could be noisy and avoid those times.



03/02/2014 02:10pm

John Wilkinson

The centre itself is very good but the website is messy and difficult to navigate.

Libraries Web Manager replies

Thank you for you feedback. We are currently planning a programme of improvements to the Libraries websites with the aim of making it easier for you to use our services online. We would always welcome your views on the site in order to help us achieve this.



28/11/2013 02:56pm

Ana Mota

The library was incredibly noisy today!!! (Saturday at 11.30 am until 1 pm)

What can be done?

Also people seem to be having picnics in the studies area. I think it's OK to drink a warm coffee or water but eating should be done in a designated area! People should only eat near the café. Many thanks for your kind attention to this matter.

Basingstoke Discovery Centre replies

Always check our website or brochures for any possible noisy children's activities taking place. Quiet periods are generally during afternoons and evenings and on Sundays.

We do not stop people from eating and drinking in the library whilst studying or reading as most people are considerate of others. If someone is disturbing your study, please speak to a member of staff who may ask them to move to a table in the coffee shop area.



28/11/2013 04:03pm

Paula Oliveira

Originally I thought that the Discovery Centre was a great place! Excellent resources with a great 'Silent' area for those who wanted to focus on their studies and not be disturbed by constant noise.

The resources are still great but forget about having a quiet time when you need to focus on your essay on a Saturday afternoon!

Someone thought it was a great idea to put the Children's play area right next to the only place where adults can plug in their laptop and work.  BDC PLEASE revise your strategy on logistics. You have enough space to re-organise the library in a way in which allows the play but does not disturb the serious studies that some of us must do! Thank you.

Basingstoke Discovery Centre replies

Saturdays are one of our most popular days with families.The library area was re-designed in 2010 when we became a Discovery Centre to incorporate new features such as the self service area, changing suite for disabled adults, public toilet, rooms for events/hire and to give the CAB more space. We now even have a coffee shop for the enjoyment and comfort of our customers. We are trying to accommodate all our customers and their varied needs in an open plan space which is restricted in it's layout and appreciate it is not always ideal for everyone.

We would recommend to anyone who wishes to study, to check our website or our brochures for events which could be noisy. Afternoons and early evenings during the week are generally pretty quiet, as are Sundays.



01/11/2013 11:50am

Mary Bealby

This is a great 'book and media heaven'. All staff are very helpful and welcoming.

Thanks to the free wifi I regularly visit the Basingstoke Discovery Centre in order to study in their designated 'quiet study space'.

Only one negative thing: if you wish to use the quiet study space on a Wednesday morning, think twice. Why?

A meeting of moms and very young children - who are all very noisy as they practice their singing - takes place exactly by the study space. As a result, you won't do much work there...



07/10/2013 09:53am


I attended the library today with my children for the board games. The children throughly enjoyed themselves. We stayed after the games finished, we found the staff very helpful as the children stayed to do their homework.

Keep up the good work. Your service is invaluable.



07/10/2013 09:56am

Sorrel Griggs

The staff at the Discovery Centre are wonderfully helpful and the range of books and other resources is quite staggering.

However. I seem to have missed the meeting where library etiquette was changed beyond all recognition.

Recent attempts at study in the library have been thwarted by:

*a large group of mothers with prams using the cafe facilities - no books/magazines, just coffee and loud voices

*wildlife sound buttons in the children's area - no headphones or supervision, just kids going crazy pressing buttons

*children who do not seem to understand, or whose parents have not explained, the concept of hush

*mobile phones ringing and being answered

I avoid the library during scheduled group events. I sit in the 'Local Studies' or 'Reference' sections to tuck myself out of the way - yet still there is no peace! I appreciate that you are trying to improve footfall and so on, but surely this shouldn't be at a detriment to those already faithfully using the library..? Please don't lower the standards of the whole library just to attract people in to buy coffee! I can see from other comments that I am not alone in feeling this way.

Basingstoke Discovery Centre replies

We introduced the coffee shop because our customers told us that they wanted such a facility within the library area. Todate, this has been widely appreciated, although we do understand that people relaxing and drinking coffee will result in more background noise.

The wildlife activity you describe was for one week only during the school holidays and widely publicised. Hampshire Libraries actively encourage children to come into our buildings as we hope they will become lifelong customers! There will be some activities that will produce more noise than others but most of these will be posted on our website.

With regard to mobile phone calls, we hope that customers would be considerate and take their calls outside, either on the terrace or the lobby area. However, if you find that someone is being particularly noisy, please let a member of staff know and they will politely ask that person to take their call elsewhere.

So in conclusion, we are sorry that you find the noise levels unacceptable at times, but we are doing our best for our customers to provide them with all the facilities and activities that they want, within the limitations of the building. Please watch our website for details of any children's activities and if you find another customer is being very noisy, do ask a member of staff to intervene.



23/05/2013 03:37pm


While revising for A Level exams this month I am finding the level of noise caused by the installation of the cafe extremely distracting. I understand that there has been signs put on the tables to apologize but I found it very inconsiderate to choose to do this refurbishment during exam period?



07/05/2013 12:12pm

Simon Cockburn

I think the Discovery Centre is great. I quickly got used to the level of noise and can work on my laptop with less distraction than I would get at home! The online book reservation service is fantastic. I have also done a number of workshops on playwriting, pen & ink drawing and mixed media art.

Basingstoke can be proud of the Centre.

Finally, the staff are first rate and most helpful.


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