Newcastle’s new library will be based in the £15.4m Castle House in the centre of town and the design, content and layout will be inspired by Stafford library, which has seen a surge in membership and use since it opened two years ago.
Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Communities, said: "Moving from an old building, which was never designed to be used as a library, to a bright, open building with a range of modern facilities to complement the books was a great success in Stafford and it will be in Newcastle.
The current Newcastle building is a former 1970s department store, it’s expensive to heat and light and it’s spread over three floors.
The new library will be more accessible, with a flexible space and offer access to more than one million books and more than 3,000 ebooks, as well as offering computers, free wifi and digital touch tables. There will be 3D printers and Raspberry Pi computers will be available to help children and young people learning coding and other IT skills.”
Castle House is opening in the autumn and will be the base for Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Police and Aspire Housing’s customer services team.
The new library will have a public area of 654m², compared to the current building's 930m², according to a report in The Sentinel. All 37 existing public access PCs will be moved across to the new site.
"The way people use their libraries is changing to reflect the different way that people consume the written word," Gill Heath is quoted as saying. "Far fewer physical books are borrowed. For example use across the county fell by a fifth over three years, while online borrowing is growing all the time. What we found popular when we made a similar move in Stafford is to put the most popular titles on display and then people can access up to a million books from our stock list."