Newbiggin Library books into a new home
Newbiggin Library last week (Saturday 11th March) opened its doors as it booked into its new permanent home in the town’s sports and community centre.
Library and leisure centre users were among the first to view the new library, as a new chapter begins in its history. Newbiggin Library vacated its outdated and unfit premises in the former Cleveland School Building on Gibson Street last October before taking up temporary residence on the ground floor at Newbiggin Sports and Community Centre in October 2016 while building work was underway.
The work, which began in January and was completed on 19th February 2017, has created a bright, modern space. The library boasts better facilities for book borrowers and other users, as well as improvements to the leisure centre's entrance to provide a warmer welcome for visitors.
A small café area has been installed to allow borrowers to buy a drink and a bite to eat while they read their books, improving their customer experience.
The move to relocate Newbiggin Library is part of a planned programme of works to co-locate library with other leisure services to create new community hubs across the county, allowing book borrowers to benefit from extended opening hours and access more services under one roof.
Active Northumberland manages all leisure facilities on behalf of Northumberland County Council, including fitness and sports centres, libraries, community sites and beach facilities.
Northumberland County Council has invested over £40 million into improving leisure centres and facilities in the county, including £80,000 at Newbiggin.
Northumberland County Council leader Grant Davey said: 'The relocation of the library into the sports and community centre makes perfect sense for residents and delivery of services in Newbiggin. We’re delighted to see Newbiggin Library move into its new home and we’re looking forward to seeing it well-used by community groups, book borrowers and other users. We’re sure the library will be busier and livelier than ever. It will provide a new focal point for the community and encourage cross-usage of facilities, as well as contributing to the ongoing regeneration of the town.'
Councillor Liz Simpson, local councillor for Newbiggin, said: 'We’re delighted to see Newbiggin Library open in its new, permanent home and we hope library users will enjoy the first-rate facilities and modern learning and reading environment that it has to offer. Local people will have the added benefit of longer opening hours plus a one-stop shop for services under one roof and we are hoping that more people will use the library when visiting the leisure centre or accessing other services. Newbiggin Library will serve as a vibrant community hub in comfortable surroundings with the same level of access to books and resources. By integrating our libraries with leisure centre services, we can offer library users an improved service, longer opening hours and better accessibility and convenience for residents. Integrating services in this way has had proven results in other parts of the county, with clear benefits for residents and cost effectiveness for the council.'
Newbiggin Library is open from 8am to 10pm weekdays, 9am to 8pm on Saturdays, and 9am to 10pm on Sundays.
Ashington Library opened in January 2016 as part of the £20million new purpose-built complex at Ashington Leisure Centre, and boasts a huge range of books, an IT hub with 18 computer terminals and a bespoke children’s library. In the last 12 months, the library has attracted over 2,000 new members and has seen a 25% increase in book borrowing.
Cramlington Library moved from its premises on Forum Way into a newly created space at the front of the Concordia Leisure Centre building in July 2016 as part of a £3.5 million transformation programme. Visitors can now access customer services, the gym, new soft play facilities, a Clip ‘n’ Climb climbing experience, spa facility and a 10 lane bowling alley.
Ponteland Library moved from Thornhill Road into the leisure centre’s reception area and former creche in November 2016 where it will stay until its new shared site development, which includes new school buildings, leisure and information services, is completed in 2019. To find out more about your local library, visit www.mylibrary.co.uk or follow @NlandLibs on Twitter.