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Fresh chapter begins as market town's new library opens

PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:00 25 January 2019

The new Eye library has opened its doors to customers with library manger Julie Shepherd centre. Picture: James Powell

The new Eye library has opened its doors to customers with library manger Julie Shepherd centre. Picture: James Powell

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The first visitors have browsed the book shelves as the new library in a market town opened its doors for the first time.

The new Eye library in Cross Street which has replaced the previous library building that was meant to be temporary 40 years ago. Picture: James PowellThe new Eye library in Cross Street which has replaced the previous library building that was meant to be temporary 40 years ago. Picture: James Powell

While libraries are closing up and down the country, Eye has bucked the trend by with a new library building replacing a previous building that when it opened 40 years ago was never designed to be a permanent home for the service.

The smart new library in Cross Street, built in a former highways office and workshop that had lain empty for several years, had been taking shape during 2018 and was handed over to Suffolk Libraries just before Christmas.

The new Eye library includes a wide range of books, DVDs, free wifi and internet access and printing facilities. Picture: James PowellThe new Eye library includes a wide range of books, DVDs, free wifi and internet access and printing facilities. Picture: James Powell

The previous building on Buckshorn Lane closed for the last time on January 13. Staff have since moved and set up everything at the new library ahead of its official opening.

The new library includes wheeled shelving which can be moved aside to create more space for events and community activities and also offers accessible toilet facilities and an interactive information screen and a hireable meeting room.

Julie Shepherd, manager of Eye library, hopes people will visit including new library members. Picture: James PowellJulie Shepherd, manager of Eye library, hopes people will visit including new library members. Picture: James Powell

It also includes a wide range of books, DVDs and other items, activities for children and families, free wifi and internet access, printing facilities and information about the local area.

Library manager Julie Shepherd said: “Everyone’s very excited about our new library including staff and our regular customers. Hopefully everyone will come along and take a look at the new library and what we have to offer, particularly anyone who may not have visited the library for a while, everyone is always welcome.”

The new Eye library includes wheeled shelving which can be moved  for events and community activities. Picture: James PowellThe new Eye library includes wheeled shelving which can be moved for events and community activities. Picture: James Powell

The plans for the modern and purpose-built library were agreed by Suffolk County Council last March with the new building being funded by the sale of the previous site.

The modern design of the new library, which was designed and overseen by Concertus Design & Property Consultants, offers a striking new addition to Cross Street.

The old Eye Library on Buckshorn Lane was meneant to be a temporary building. Sale of the site has funded the new library. Picture: Simon ParkerThe old Eye Library on Buckshorn Lane was meneant to be a temporary building. Sale of the site has funded the new library. Picture: Simon Parker

Architectural designer Katherine Williams said: “The use of colour showcases a modern, vibrant facility to form a focal point for Eye, rejuvenating Cross Street by making use of a site occupied by an unattractive, dilapidated office building. The vaulted ceiling in the internal library area, creates a light and inviting space which offers itself to becoming flexible as a resource centre to the benefit of Eye and the wider community.”

Tony Brown, chair of Suffolk Libraries said: “It’s hugely positive to be able to open a new library. It’s been a great team effort to deliver a modern facility that will provide a better library environment and experience for everyone in the local community.”

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