Library gets £1million facelift

ACTIVITY zones, a coffee shop and community rooms will be part of a £1 million facelift for Felixstowe's Library to bring it into the 21st century.County councillors say the project will "completely transform" the library in Crescent Road – to make it a flexible space for all kinds of activities and a place where people will want to relax and spend time.

ACTIVITY zones, a coffee shop and community rooms will be part of a £1 million facelift for Felixstowe's Library to bring it into the 21st century.

County councillors say the project will "completely transform" the library in Crescent Road - to make it a flexible space for all kinds of activities and a place where people will want to relax and spend time.

Little has been done to the building since it opened 37 years ago when it was then the most modern in Suffolk.

Now it will become the most up to date again, thanks to the work which will begin in May and take around 40 weeks to complete.

County manager for libraries and heritage, Roger McMaster said: "We want to create a flexible space and keep it as open plan as possible.

"When people come in here in a year's time they will find a modern, attractive space where they will want to spend time - rather than simply borrowing a book and leaving.

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"There will be areas where they can listen to music, have a coffee and relax and read a book or a newspaper, or use the computers for research."

The main work will involve adding a two-storey extension to the rear of the library. On the ground floor, there will be a children's library and zones for different activities and IT equipment.

Upstairs there will be a large room with its own kitchen for hire to clubs and societies for meetings and other activities, and also a smaller meeting room. A lift will be installed.

The current upstairs, a mezzanine floor overlooking the library, will become the staff offices, while their current accommodation downstairs will be converted into the coffee shop and sound and vision suite.

Seamans Building, of Stowmarket, will carry out the work.

Executive committee member Kathy Pollard said the project was part of a series of schemes across the county to improve libraries, including Ipswich, Stowmarket and Clare.

"We want to create much friendlier spaces so that people will be attracted to come into the buildings and use our libraries and the full range of facilities that they now offer, much more than just the books," she said.

"It's a very exciting project and we hope it will be an excellent resource for the community."

Felixstowe county councillor David Rowe, deputy leader of the council, said the coffee shop would be run by social services, operated by people with learning difficulties to give them jobs and experience.

Mayor Don Smith said: "I am delighted the project has been given the go ahead. I think it will be a tremendous asset for the whole town and people will see a fantastic new library because it will be so different when it is finished."

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