From library ‘at risk’ to prestigious award

A library and tourist information centre which was at risk of closure but fought back, increasing opening hours by 300% whilst saving its local authority 30% in costs, has won “Britain’s top award for town community projects,” from my client, Action for Market Towns.

When Northumberland County Council needed to make significant cost savings, there was a real risk that Wooler would lose its Tourist Information Centre and library service – which services an area of some 250 square miles.

But Glendale Gateway Trust instigated and led an asset transfer and partnership project, securing funding for a complete re-fit and relocation of Wooler library, including the Tourist Information Centre within a community facility, and taking on Wooler’s Old Library building for development as affordable housing.

The new library has seen a 20% increase in book lending, 95% increase in visitor numbers and 150% increase in membership – and its opening hours have increased by 300%.

And the relocated tourist centre has seen a 70% increase in gross income.

I’ve made this short film about the project:

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