Shiny new Kent History and Library Centre traces more than 1,000 years of history

By Culture24 Reporter | 25 April 2012
A photo of a modern library on a street corner
The new Kent History and Library Centre© Kent County Council
Costumed doppelgangers of literary luminaries entertained the streets of Maidstone as the Kent History and Library Centre – the impressive new home of the county’s records, across 14 kilometres of space stretching back to 699 AD – opened to the public on Shakespeare’s birthday.

Visitors grabbed goodie bags as they made their first steps into the archive. A library of 40,000 books, community spaces, shelves full of first reads for children and a café are among the developments, replacing the Centre for Kentish Studies, Councy Central (Springfield), St Faith’s Libraries and Maidstone Library.

A wealth of documents, photos, maps and records have been moved to storage facilities offering conditions carefully tweaked to ensure their preservation. Kent thriller writer Elizabeth Haynes also gave a reading on the evening.

“The building is purpose built,” said Mike Hill, of Kent County Council, who said the opening was “very exciting indeed”.

“It is bright and welcoming and will have plenty on offer for people to see and do.”

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