Library staff will be packing up their books and leaving their present 1950’s pre-fabricated building for the more modern Felling Children’s Centre building on the High Street on Friday 9th November.
The move will bring the library to the heart of Felling town centre where a major rejuvenation of the shopping centre is about to get underway.
Built in the 1950’s, the present library building is now in poor physical shape and is increasingly expensive to maintain. A recent survey suggested it was likely to cost a six-figure sum to bring up to an acceptable and weatherproof standard.
Although smaller, the new library premises will still offer a full range of library services and will retain some 90% of the books on the shelves of the present library. The building will also provide a new home for The Gateshead Housing Company, bringing two important services together in a single town centre building.
Councillor Linda Green, Cabinet member for Culture, says: “This move will ensure that Felling’s library service continues, but at less cost to Council Tax payers.”
“The council’s difficult financial situation is well-known, and it is essential that we find economies wherever we can. Moving the library from an old and inefficient building into a more modern one will save us money without affecting the level of service.
“In fact, bringing the library more into the town centre will potentially make it much more accessible for local people.
“It is true that the new library will be physically smaller, but it will continue to offer the same full range of services in its new building as it did in the old.”
The move will be completed over the week-end, with the old library closing on Thursday evening (8 November) and the new library opening its doors to the public on Monday 12 November.
One of the first events at the new library will be a visit by local award-winning children's author David Almond, who grew up in Felling. David will be doing a session for local school children on Friday 23rd November.