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Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Woodbridge Library has moved to an old primary school
By Andrew Woodger
BBC Suffolk

Woodbridge Library
Managers, councillors and Woodbridge Primary School at the new library

A Suffolk library has moved across the road to a larger £1m building with more space, equipment and books.

Woodbridge Library on New Street is now in the building formerly occupied by Woodbridge Primary School.

A local housing firm have paid for most of the work, while Suffolk County Council has paid £310,000 for the internal refurbishments.

"It's good to finally get the library that the people of Woodbridge needed," said Kevin Hartwell, library manager.

The day before the new library opened in 2010, pupils from Woodbridge Primary, which has moved to Wilkinson Way, were given a sneak preview of the building.

"There was none of the 'shhhh', we didn't do any of that," said Conservative councillor Rosie Clarke, portfolio holder for culture at Suffolk County Council, who was also having a look around.

"The children were enthusiastic, they were interested and they were fascinated by the facilities. It's beautifully decorated - I could have spent the whole day there if I'd been allowed to.

Councillors Caroline Page and Rosie Clarke in Woodbridge Library
Suffolk County Councillors Rosie Clarke and Caroline Page

"I hope that this will be appreciated in Woodbridge and the surrounding area. The old library was busy whenever I went in, but it was often crowded and very out of date."

The project is part of a wider scheme by G&E Woodbridge Consortium Ltd which was formed to provide the new replacement primary school.

As well as building the new library, the consortium has built 21 homes next door at Lanyard Place.

G&E is also redeveloping the old library site on New Street which will be called Scholars Court.

It will be turned into apartments with units at the bottom which will be leased by the county council for medical and related services.

The firm expects Scholars Court to be completed by the end of 2011.

I do like Mondays

The library has 15 staff and now they're in the new building they'll be open for seven days a week and won't close on Mondays anymore.

The library is on one level which means there's better access for people with disabilities, there's a baby nappy-changing room and two meeting rooms. There's also a hot drinks machine.

Kevin Hartwell is the library manager:

"We absolutely love it. It's great to have some space for community events and we've been able to double the amount of fiction.

Woodbridge Library
The old school site has also been redeveloped for housing

"Our kids area is three times as large as it was before and we've got one extra computer.

"The role of the library is to provide people with reading for pleasure, but it also offers a learning experience.

"In terms of internet usage, we also have e-books online which can be downloaded. We didn't have that before.

"It's about being in the heart of the community and showing people what we have. We're willing to help and we're more engaged in the community than people might, perhaps, think we are."

Contact Woodbridge Library on 01394 446510 for full details or visit the Suffolk County Council library service website.


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