THERE have been letters, for and against, in The Press about the refurbished library so it was time to investigate for ourselves.

We were greeted by a member of the library staff who provided us with a coloured plan of the new layout. On this occasion we were only interested in the café, which is not difficult to find. Turn right!

Reading and eating at the same time seems to be encouraged. But despite a careful search, we could not spot any of the café users reading a book. They were either buried in a newspaper or engrossed in conversation.

It was shortly after 1pm when we made our visit. The café was well patronised with only one vacant table which we cleared before sitting down. Not a very good start.

Each table has its own two-sided menu. There is the usual range of tea (70p per mug or £1.20 by the pot), coffee (cappuccino is priced £1.60 to £2) and hot chocolate (£1.50).

Fresh sandwiches in white or wholemeal bread (£2) or filled rolls (£2.50) come with a variety of fillings. For £3, you could have a jacket potato with tuna mayo, cheese or baked beans.

Ann sat on a low settee while I went to the servery to be greeted by two cheerful assistants. Ordering an egg mayo sandwich for Ann and a BLT for myself, I was apologetically told that there was no egg or bacon and supplies were awaited. To run out of food at lunchtime seemed unforgivable and unfair on the staff who were trying to create a good impression. So we settled for a chicken-filled brown roll for Ann and one with ham for me. Both rolls were only buttered and filled when we ordered which is always a good sign, although it can slow down service. “That’s the last of the brown rolls,” I overheard one assistant saying.

This might sound very negative which up to a point it is. However, we can report that the rolls were extremely soft and fresh and adequately filled with meat. Each came with a garnish of tomato, cucumber, carrot strips and lettuce. Our snack was completed with a shared fruit tart (£1.50) and a mug of tea each.

The café is nicely carpeted, bright and airy. One part has high tables and chairs while the other, providing a view of the book display areas had soft settees and low tables. There was no rush and most customers seemed prepared to linger over their snack.

For the light snackers, there are scones with jam and butter and toasted teacakes (both £1) and children’s sandwiches at £1.50.

Perhaps it was too early and the café has not yet settled down. We noticed customers bringing trays of dirty crockery back to the servery and at one stage we thought it was one of the librarians who was wiping tables.

We paid £7.90 for our snack, which was value for money. However, there is never a second chance to make a first impression, and this was our first impression.