The English Library in Puerto de la Cruz

Wed, August 28th, 2013 - By Andrea Montgomery

Before I relocated to Tenerife, the last time I had been in a library it was to take back a seriously overdue novel and get a lecture about responsibility. I was 15 years old and studying for my English Literature A Level.  Since moving to Tenerife I have spent endless hours in small town libraries with a Spanish history book the thickness of War & Peace in one hand and a Spanish/English dictionary in the other, trawling through entire volumes to extract one useful paragraph for an article or guide book. It’s fair to say I don’t consider libraries to be the most convivial of places. But then I discovered The English Library.

 

The English Library

 

There has long been an ex-pat British population in the Canary Islands, their influence and money being responsible for the construction of such iconic institutions as the Santa Catalina in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the Hotel Taoro in Puerto de la Cruz. Patronised by wealthy Victorians over-wintering for the good of their health, during its heyday in the late 19th and early 20th century, guests at Hotel Taoro required the services of a library to replenish their stocks of reading material. And so, in 1903, through collaboration, private funding and hard work amongst the British ex-pat population, the custom-built English Library in Parque Taoro opened its doors. And they’re still open to this day.

 

The English Library, Puerto de la Cruz

 

The first thing that strikes you when you arrive at the white building, surrounded by its pretty garden and its outside terrace, is that it’s like no other library you’ve ever been in. Naturally quiet prevails in the reading room but there’s a hum of conversation amongst the shelves while outside, the tables and chairs of the terrace are busy with people chatting over morning coffee.

 

The English Library, Puerto de la Cruz

 

Seeing itself as much a community support to the English speaking community of Puerto de la Cruz as simply a lending library, members can borrow DVDs, buy second hand books and learn IT skills as well as making new friends and catching up with old ones. There are coffee mornings every Wednesday and Saturday; regular social evenings where guest speakers are invited to share their knowledge, memories or specialisms and everyone enjoys a slap up buffet afterwards; and there’s a Christmas dinner dance and the occasional barbecue, all of them sell-outs.

 

The English Library, Puerto de la Cruz

 

For anyone on holiday, the library is a great source of reading material and a place to catch up on emails. For those who, like the early Victorian pioneers, overwinter in Tenerife, the library gives you access to wifi, books and DVDs but more importantly, a support network of residents whose knowledge of the area is nothing short of astounding. They’re also extremely nice people and excellent conversationalists who’ll welcome you into their library and make sure you feel instantly at home.

Oh, and you can research Tenerife’s history without the aid of a Spanish dictionary. If only I’d known about them earlier.

The English Library, Calle Irlanda, 5; Parque Taoro, Puerto de la Cruz; (0034) 922 383 098; open Monday & Friday 3pm-5.30pm, Wednesday & Saturday 10am-1pm. Annual membership €30, membership for those only resident for part of the year €12.

Posted : Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 at 11:30 am
Category : about tenerife
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2 Responses to “The English Library in Puerto de la Cruz”

  1. cherie chapman says:

    Hi, my husband and I are looking forward to spending the winters in Puerto de la \cruz. Your library sounds wonderful and just the place hopefully to tell you that I am setting up a bridge school for puerto together eventually a new bridge club.
    We are arriving in puerto on November 3rd and I shall be starting bridge courses the following week. Would you be so kind as to display my flyer for interested members. We are happ to send you our memebership money now or pay when we arrive. I look forward very much to hearing from you.
    Kindest Regards
    Cherie and Dave
    can you be so kind as to send me your email address.
    Many thanks

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