Library investment programme gets underway

Kingston Council is transforming its library service, rolling out a new look and feel across all seven of the borough’s libraries. 

Libraries in Kingston are bucking the national trend with an increase in visitor numbers, especially from local families with young children. The half million pound upgrade will see each of the sites remodelled ensuring the borough’s libraries continue to be well-loved community places that evolve with the times. 

The rolling refurbishment programme gets underway this November, starting with Kingston Library. 

Councillor Andrea Craig, Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries at Kingston Council, said: 

“There are really exciting changes ahead that will see our libraries transformed into welcoming, dynamic spaces, capable of supporting a wide range of activities and users.

“At a time when other areas are seeing their library services diminish, Kingston's is thriving. Our residents continue to be avid book readers and borrowers; investing in a modern library service means we can continue to support their needs, whilst expanding the role of our libraries as important community hubs, which connect council services with communities.”

In 2015-16, the borough’s libraries welcomed 550,000 visitors through their doors. Virtual visits increased too, with online transactions rising to 110,000.  

State of the art, self-service machines will replace the traditional front desk in the new look libraries to give more space and flexibility. This will also give library staff the freedom to focus on promoting reading, learning and discovery, as well as providing information, and supporting customers to access the library’s digital resources.

Kingston Library will undergo the biggest transformation with the children’s library incorporated within the main building. To facilitate the works, Kingston’s library services will be temporarily unavailable whilst they migrate to a temporary site, starting Monday 7 November. 

The temporary facility will open a week later, on Monday 14 November, offering a limited selection of adult fiction, non-fiction and newspapers from the site of the old children’s library, next door to the museum on Wheatfield Way. The popular Monday morning Rhymetime sessions will continue as normal but those wanting to get online are advised to head to either Surbiton Library or Tudor Drive Library for computer access. 

The new look Kingston Library is scheduled to reopen to the public in spring 2017. You can keep up to date by following announcements on Twitter  and Facebook.