The all new, fully refreshed Ebbw Vale Library has been reopened to the public following its transformation by Innova Design Solutions and Blaenau Gwent Council’s architect and contract team.
After winning a competitive tender, interior specialists Innova set to work on the refurbishment of the facility based in the classical, stone-built Bethcar Methodist Chapel.
By working with architects and librarians, the upgrade to the late Victorian building has seen cutting edge technology, IT systems and engaging, modern, bespoke furniture incorporated into the traditional space, whilst remaining sensitive to the building’s history.
In a refurbishment that is claimed will be “totally transformative to services”, the library now provides a valuable, multipurpose space that will engage the community and encourage learning and literacy.
Managing director, Anthony Hughes said: “The refurbishment will transform service delivery at Ebbw Vale, enabling greater community involvement, improved IT facilities and providing an opportunity to increase our partnership work with a wide range of organisations. This is exciting news for library services in Blaenau Gwent, a fully refurbished library at Ebbw Vale will play a vital role in supporting the community.”
Upon entry to the refurbished library – a central feature ‘rotunda’ entices visitors to browse, sit and read. On the ground floor, technology has been integrated seamlessly with dual functioning units incorporating IT hot desks on one side with book shelving on the other. This maximises central space and replaces tightly packed and dated shelving units that left little room for browsers.
The mezzanine first floor now offers a traditional reading environment with ample study facilities and the flexibility for staff to reconfigure the space for events.
Daniel Heginbotham, national sales manager at Innova, said: “When planning the refurbishment of the library we had to upgrade the services, integrate technology and make it engaging in such a way that it complements a very traditional building. Beyond the mix of modern and traditional and the new digital services, the library can now accommodate community activities including art classes and events for children, thanks to its uncluttered, spacious layout.
“The finished result provides a relaxed reading environment right next to the IT hub, meaning users can move effortlessly from one area to the next according to their needs. We are proud to see the library in use and we hope it effectively engages the community and encourages the next generation of library users.”
Following the opening of the library to the public, the refurbishment has received rave reviews, with a library visitor commenting: “This refurbishment has the “Wow” factor in spades. The building is now a modern, contemporary light filled space which is perfect for a library, whilst still retaining the architectural features that make this building such a landmark in the town.”