Geordies flock to new £24 million City Library

By Culture24 Staff | 18 June 2009
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A picture of people in a new library with welcome signs

Newcastle City Library (above) opened to the public this week. Picture: Craig Connor / North News, courtesy North News and Pictures Ltd

Officials in Newcastle say they are "delighted" by the public response after more than 30,000 people visited the new £24 million City Library in its first week.

The futuristic tower, which hosts a 185-seat performance space, 24-hour lending facilities, a permanent collection showcasing the history of Newcastle and Wi-Fi access across six floors, opened this week following the completion of a two-year building project in March 2009.

A picture of people in a library

Council chiefs said the new building had "moved with the times." Picture: Craig Connor / North News, courtesy North News and Pictures Ltd

"This new building has been designed in consultation with the community and has moved with the times to give people instant access to goods and services," said Tony Durcan, Head of Culture, Libraries and Lifelong Learning at Newcastle City Council.

"Their support of the City Library shows how importantly we value the library service across Newcastle."

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

The overall project cost more than £40 million. Picture: Craig Connor / North News, courtesy North News and Pictures Ltd

More than 16,000 books, CDs and DVDs were borrowed during the week, and visitors also enjoyed a café, meeting and study rooms and crèche facilities for the first time. The library space, which covers eight square kilometres, was designed alongside a new High Heaton Community Library as part of an overall project costing more than £40 million.

A picture of a girl reading a book in a library

Thousands of books feature across six floors. Picture: Craig Connor / North News, courtesy North News and Pictures Ltd

Museums, Libraries and Archives Council Chief Executive Roy Clare said the library was "a superb milestone" for Newcastle and other library authorities in the UK, and MLA Chair Andrew Motion called it an "exemplary" centre to "delve into and extend the self."

A picture of a new glass library in a city centre

The library has been completely rebuilt after being closed for the past 3 years. Picture: Craig Connor / North News, courtesy North News and Pictures Ltd

"The facilities we now have mean we have never been more ready to meet public expectations," added Durcan. "I think it is something the whole city can be proud of and inspired by."

Open 8.30am-8pm Monday-Thursday, 8.30am-5.30pm Friday and Saturday, 11am-5pm Sunday. Call 0191 2774100. Visit the City Library online for footage of the site and more details.