Hundreds of libraries are closing across the UK, but in Southwark, London, there is a new one, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-15920711
The opening of this new library, at a cost of £14.1m, is at the heart of Southwark Council’s investment in the libraries service, which is being protected despite cuts in central government funding.
In a first for London, visitors to the library will not only get their fix of some 40,000 books, music CDs & films but will also be able to:
- Enjoy day and night time theatre performances, run by the Albany , Deptford’s renowned performing arts venue, in the 150 seater theatre and culture space.
- Have a coffee at the Waters Edge Café on the ground floor
- Attend meetings at the same theatre space which converts into an open floor area of 150 m².
- Take in an early evening class in one of the three separate learning spaces
- Log on to free internet at one of the library’s 79 computers
- Use the tube station whose exit and entrance is incorporated into the building, checking real time train times on the library plasma screens
- Access council services such as benefits and council tax help, from January
- Take in amazing views of the historic Canada Water basin, which it overhangs
The library’s wi-fi network, with nearly 30 laptops available for hire, reflects the growing trend towards the ‘library as living room’ ethos. Across Southwark’s libraries members currently clock up more than 10,000 hours of internet use each month on their wi-fi network alone.
Cllr Veronica Ward, cabinet member for culture, leisure, sport and the Olympics at Southwark Council, said:
“I’m so proud to be unveiling this amazing building. It’s an incredible, breath-taking use of space, both inside and out, and has all that you could need under one roof. You could find yourself learning in the morning, listening to a poetry performance at lunchtime, studying in the afternoon, watching first class theatre at night, and then relaxing in the cafe after that.
We’re definitely leading the way in London with our libraries – first the iconic Peckham Library, then our refit of John Harvard Library resulting in visitor number records beaten, and next year two more brand new libraries for the borough.
And now with this new ‘super’ library, we aim to put Southwark on the map as a forward-thinking, pioneering borough with libraries right at our heart.”