£1.5 million plans for Central Library

Aiming for vibrant community hub with 21st century facilities

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Preparations for Ealing Council's £1.5 million facelift to transform Central Library into a modern, more user-friendly and inviting building are now under-way.

Architects and design consultants Bisset Adams have recently completed a feasibility study to investigate options for refurbishing and improving the library, as well as ways of bringing the benefits of using libraries to a far wider audience throughout the borough.

This is part of the council's 'Libraries for the 21st Century' strategy which will invest £6.6 million in Ealing's 12 public libraries over the next two years.

Mark Bryant, Head of Libraries, Information and Adult Learning, said: "The refurbishment will transform Central Library into a vibrant community hub that all our residents can use and enjoy.

"Our aim is to bring new users into our libraries, including people who may not previously have thought that libraries had anything to offer them, for example, young mums, teenagers, and people who have recently arrived in Ealing or the United Kingdom .

"We want to make sure that all we have to offer in the way of learning, information, reading and social opportunities reaches as great an audience as possible."

Proposed designs for the Central Library include creating a greater sense of light and space, opening up sightlines through the building, reorganising stock and bookshelves with more clarity, and creating an informal café, information and lounge area near the entrance.

Study and research facilities would be extended and improved within the redesigned mezzanine, which would become a transparent 'beacon' of learning, creating more study space and a new silent study room. The children's library would be relocated to the busier, more vibrant ground floor near the café, to encourage greater use.

Mark Bryant added: "We're very excited about the possibilities for our libraries. These facilities should be part of everyone's lives; a source of learning and enjoyment, a natural stop-off point in a shopping trip, the working day, or after school.

"We want to be a 21st century service, rivaling the successes and innovation of Tower Hamlets' Idea Stores or the Norwich Millennium Library which have brought reading and information to a whole new raft of users. Our residents deserve a service that is on par with other flagship libraries in London ."

March 29, 2006