Huge increase in visitors expected for new Berkhamsted library

The new library has more than 18,000 items that can be checked out by users  including books, audiotapes, DVDs, CDs and magazines
The new library has more than 18,000 items that can be checked out by users including books, audiotapes, DVDs, CDs and magazines

Berkhamsted town centre had a new look this week – as the library finally opened its doors to customers.

Hundreds of people rushed in within the first hour of opening as residents got a first look at the new facilities at 9am on Friday.

The library is part of the new Beechcroft Homes development in  High Street. The rest of the development is a retirement home for over 55s

The library is part of the new Beechcroft Homes development in High Street. The rest of the development is a retirement home for over 55s

The new location, a few doors down from the old library, is at the heart of the town centre at the junction of High Street and Kings Road.

New facilities are packed onto one floor, and include new work and study spaces with power sockets, public computers with self-service printing, and a new enquiry desk.

There is also a meeting room for hire and a fully accessible public toilet with baby changing facilities.

Visitors have the chance to browse more than 18,000 items and access a raft of information sources.

It signals the end of an era for the old library a few doors up Kings Road. It closed its doors for the final time last month

It signals the end of an era for the old library a few doors up Kings Road. It closed its doors for the final time last month

The first week has been a ‘huge success’ for the library, and area librarian Russel Barrow is anticipating a sharp rise in the number of people using the facilities.

He told the Gazette: “We had 83,000 visitors last year and I’m expecting that number to increase hugely.

“Libraries are incredibly valuable. We do see it as a community asset because there’s something here for everyone.

“People may have forgotten just how good public libraries are, so now is a great time to re-introduce yourself to one if you haven’t been in a while.”

Andrew Bignell, head of libraries at Hertfordshire County Council, added: “The response has been really good so far, with fantastic feedback about the location and the feel of the place.

"It’s been about modernising the whole image of the library.”