Library gets new look

STAFF at Felixstowe Library will next week begin moving thousands of books into the newly-completed first phase of a £1 million facelift for the building.

STAFF at Felixstowe Library will next week begin moving thousands of books into the newly-completed first phase of a £1 million facelift for the building.

The library will be closed for the week - from Monday December 12 to Tuesday December 20 - to allow staff to move into the new area.

When the public returns it will find the original library out of bounds as work is now to start on the refurbishment of this area, along with more work continuing upstairs in the new extension.

Councillors were thrilled to see how the project, which will make the library in Crescent Road fit for the 21st century, is taking shape.

County manager for libraries and heritage, Roger McMaster said work was progressing really well and was a little ahead of schedule, which would allow more time for the second phase. The fully completed project is expected to be open around May.

“We always expected to have to close for short periods during the work to allow staff to move books and equipment around as the work is completed in various areas, but the project is going very well indeed,” he said.

Most Read

Jane Midwood, portfolio holder for adult care and community services, said: “I think it's really exciting - it's going to be fabulous for Felixstowe.”

The new two-storey extension onto the rear of the building has increased the space by about one-third. The aim is to make it a flexible space for all kinds of activities and a place where people will want to relax and spend time rather than simply borrowing a book and leaving.

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 is being installed.

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

FACTFILE: Not just for bookworms . . .

Felixstowe library cost £35,000 to build when it was opened in 1966.

It housed 20,800 books, a reference library built large enough to cope with the expected growth of the population over the next 20 years, and for music lovers records and sheet music for the first time.

It had 6,500 members and more than 278,000 books were issued each year.

Today the library is the fifth most popular in the county with 269,000 visitors a year, and around 250,000 books borrowed annually - slightly less than 40 years ago.

Many users today though are visiting to use computers, internet access, read papers and periodicals, borrow DVDs, CDs and videos.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter