New County Library opens on Monday
County council staff are currently putting the finishing touches to the new County Library which opens to the public on Monday (18 December) at Westgate Oxford, close to the Bonn Square entrance.
More than 100,000 items will have been transported, catalogued and arranged by the time of Monday’s opening at 9am – the library had been temporarily housed at Oxford Castle following its transfer from the old Westgate shopping centre when it was known as the Central Library.
New features include ‘Makerspace’ and a children’s library. ‘Makerspace’ is an informal area for groups to carry out digital, art and craft activities, where people can learn new skills and make new connections. With a slightly space-age feel, it is a flexible space that has dozens of power points, a 3-D printer and ‘maker’ tables.
While an enlarged children’s library will be a key attraction for families with young children. With soft furnishings, ‘book nooks’ and safe Internet access, it is ideal for school visits, book talks and fun activities.
Investment and commitment
The main library areas have been opened up, with curved shelving to make browsing easier, and plenty of spots to settle down for a comfy read. The layout, fixtures and fittings are all new, with 70 public computers, information screens and areas for reading, working and learning new skills.
It is all part of a vision for the County Library to serve as a ‘front door’ to access county council services online, and for visitors to get the support they may need to do this – with staff on hand to assist.
The council’s Cabinet Member for Property and Cultural Services, Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, said: “Unlike other parts of the country, all 43 of Oxfordshire’s branch libraries have remained open and we’re underlining our commitment to libraries by putting them right at the heart of the communities they serve – the new County Library is for the Oxfordshire community as a whole.”
Before the old Central Library closed it was ranked as the third busiest council-run library in the country.
A week of special opening activities and events is planned at the library from Monday. Full details can be found here