LIBRARIES have been an integral part of the community for 100 years, after the first free book sharing service launched in Wiltshire in 1919.

In August 1919 there was an act of Parliament that enabled county councils to use funds to finance a library service, and Wiltshire was one of the first in the country to do this.

It was a totally mobile operation, with a building as a storage base, but books were distributed in ammunition boxes via a van that would drop them off at schools or community centres.

Melksham Library was the county’s first purpose built library and opened in September 1964.

Now, a century on, there are 31 libraries in towns across Wiltshire and while still promoting the joy of picking up a book, libraries are ever increasingly moving digital.

Rebecca Bolton has worked across Wiltshire's libraries for a decade.

She said: “Despite the changes, lots of things have stayed the same. People still come to the library knowing they will have a friendly welcome and is somewhere they can go to speak to staff with the knowledge to help hem.

“We still have a big focus on children and there are still resource hubs that work with schools.

“We now register babies with their own library card from birth.

“I found the pictures of Chippenham library really interesting as that was my childhood library growing up.

"It was fascinating to see the bare bones of that building come together."

Last year libraries hosted 1760 activities for adults, from author visits to games clubs and techy tea parties, for people to get to grips with changing technology. These are vital to tackle many social issues, Rebecca continued.

“We even have a section with information about health conditions for people to find out more. If they have had a 10 minute conversation with their doctor they might have more questions and so they can go to the library to find out more.”

To celebrate the centenary, Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre has released a series of snapshots of libraries from across the area.