Top lenders battle for victory in Public Library Building Awards finals

By Culture24 Staff | 03 September 2009
A picture of people in a new library with welcome signs

Newcastle City Library (above) has been nominated for a national award. Picture Craig Connor / North News. Courtesy North News and Pictures Ltd

Newcastle could be set for more literary accolades after the £24 million City Library and the highly-rated new High Heaton Community Library were named on the shortlist for this year’s Public Library Building Awards UK.

The Tyneside twosome will go head-to-head on a shortlist of ten for the national award honouring design, innovation and use of libraries, taking on rivals from cities including London, Glasgow and Bolton.

A picture of a new glass library in a city centre

A shortlist of ten centres has been drawn up. Picture: Craig Connor / North News, courtesy North News and Pictures Ltd

More than 30,000 people visited the futuristic, six-floor City Library tower following its high-profile opening in June 2009. High Heaton’s building was devised by the same design team in a £40 million combined project.

“This is excellent news and I am delighted that our city’s libraries have been nominated for this major award,” said Councillor Pauline Allen, Newcastle City Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Customer Service.

“Since their opening each library has played a major role in the community and I am thrilled so many people have visited these amazing buildings.”

A picture of a young woman reading a book in a library

Councillors credited the Tyneside libraries with playing "a major role" in their communities. Picture: Craig Connor / North News. Courtesy North News and Pictures Ltd

North Heaton councillor Greg Stone said new IT facilities, stock and rooms at the Community Library had been extremely popular.

"The City Library has quite rightly been grabbing the headlines and has won deserved praise from within the library sector, but it is very nice to see High Heaton's local library make the shortlist for this national award as well,” he observed.

“Users and staff at the new library are delighted with the new facility, which will shortly be joined at the Spinney by a new Children's Centre."

A picture of the outside of a grey building with shrubs in the foreground

Ivybridge Library re-opened at the town's Watermark Centre in 2008. Picture: Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals

Planners in Devon were also celebrating after the £1.4 million Ivybridge Library, which shifted to new facilities at the town’s Watermark Centre in April 2008, was also shortlisted.

"There is no doubt that the new library has been an outstanding success for Ivybridge and residents from adjoining parishes and fully deserves to be considered for an award,” said County Councillor Roger Croad.

Revamped facilities at Ivybridge have enticed significantly increased visitor numbers. Picture: Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals

Stuart Barker, Cabinet Member for Adult and Community Services, said the number of visitors to the library had “increased dramatically” since its move.

"The library pulls together an outstanding range of facilities for all ages and has something for everyone in the community,” he added. “It represents everything we want in our libraries for the future.”

The finalists were chosen from a total of 34 applications, and the winner will be announced at the Public Library Authorities Conference in Bristol on October 7 2009.

Visit the Awards online for more pictures and video clips of all the shortlisted entrants.

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