Newcastle City Library membership soars after re-opening
Newcastle City Library's first-year story makes impressive reading.
IF statistics are to be believed, Newcastle is not a romantic city. Paris it is not.
Apparently, books of an amorous nature come far down the list of the most-borrowed titles from Newcastle City Library, with more people preferring horror tales, teenage fiction and science fiction to Love Story. We’d much rather look at books with pictures, too, according to figures released by library number-crunchers.
What else they disclose is, since it opened a year ago on June 7, 2009 following a £24m two-year construction, the City Library has seen an increase of nearly 400% in new members.
Customer visits are well past the million mark, up 200% on previous figures.
It has had an impressive first year with awards presented for architecture, community involvement and engineering.
The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals also recognised its significance and a recent award from the Royal Institute of British Architects means it will be considered for the coveted Stirling Prize later this year. And, of course, there was the official opening by Her Majesty the Queen last November.
In its first 12 months, the library, named Charles Avison Building after the 18th century Newcastle composer, has hosted visits from blockbuster authors such as Joanna Trollope, Chris Ryan, Wire in the Blood creator Val McDermid and journalist and former MP Martin Bell.
The most popular area is the children’s section, but the computer suite, fiction floor, and local studies department are also well trodden paths.
“The library is the city’s living room,” says Angela Forster, library development manager.
“People come in to read, to meet up or just to sit.
“At the old building a lot of people never went past the first level but the architects took things like that into consideration and designed a building that draws people to different levels and to keep them coming back.”