At a time when many communities all over the country are losing their libraries - the people of Heanor are bucking the national trend by getting a brand new one.
The town’s new £892,500 purpose-built library building on Ilkeston Road will open on Monday October 26, taking over from the temporary library service which has operated from a vacant shop in Ray Street since the old one was closed last April.
A structural engineer’s report recommended the 1950s timber framed library should be closed on safety grounds unless it was immediately renovated – a project which would have cost more than a brand new building.
Cabinet member for health and communities, Councillor Dave Allen, said: “We’re delighted to be able to open a modern library with a wide range of improved facilities and accessible services for the residents of Heanor.
“This decision shows our commitment to providing high quality services in the town which are fit for the future while also providing taxpayers with the best value for money.
“To keep repairing the existing building was no longer cost effective.”
The empty shop on Ray Street that has served as Heanor’s library for the last 18 months finally closed its doors for the final time on Saturday, October 10.
Its replacement will offer a wide range of facilities including an improved children’s library, a health and wellbeing zone, a custom-built area for people to use the council’s free-access computers and communal seating and study areas.
It will also feature a local studies section, audio book loan, self-service points and areas for public events such as author visits.
Mr Allen added: “Despite the ongoing reductions in the council’s budget we are committed to providing the best possible library service we can within the resources available and that is demonstrated by us opening this new library in Heanor.
“All libraries make an important contribution to the county council’s priorities by helping to maintain healthy, thriving communities and through supporting reading, learning, health and wellbeing, information and literacy, including computer literacy.
“I hope that the residents of Heanor will be proud of their new library and will continue to use the wide range of services that are available in the building, which includes a new purpose built meeting room for community use.”
The library already has nearly 6,000 registered members, with around 750 new members joining every year.
It is hoped that the new facilities will increase this still further.
And its not just the books and computers that will be attracting people to the new library.
Outside the building will be a mosaic designed by Belper-based artist Christine Gray on the theme of ‘What Derbyshire means to me’.
The artwork was inspired and created using ideas from local schoolchildren and residents at workshops in Heanor and Ilkeston.
The library will open six days a week and on Tuesdays and Thursdays will remain open until 7pm in the evening.
For more information about library services in Derbyshire visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/libraries.