BARNSLEY Council will receive the keys to the town centre’s new state-of-the-art library next week as workers enter the final stages of the build.

The project, called Library @ the Lightbox, was due to open in the autumn of last year but was slowed by the presence of Sough Dyke, which runs beneath part of the town centre and caused problems with the foundations.

An opening date of July 13 has been set and the four-floor building - which the council says will act as a diverse community hub - will be handed over by contractors Henry Boot Construction for the council to make the finishing touches.

Paul Bennett, project manager for the council, said: “It was important that the building did not just act as a library but as a hub for the whole community to use.
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“The ground floor will be a meeting place with free wi-fi, and there will also be an out-of-hours service for users who may want to swap books after work.

“The first floor will have a kids’ section and fiction-based books, whereas the second floor will house the non-fiction collection and 22 computers for the public’s use. As well as this there will be ten tablets situated around the building.

“The top floor is an open-plan area, usable for exercise or dance classes.

“While having a modern library was at the forefront of the project when it started in 2015, we saw a need for this building to act as something for everyone and it will be diverse.”

It replaces the temporary library, opened in Wellington Street, which itself replaced the 1970s building in Shambles Street which was demolished - despite

considerable public opposition - to make way for the new college building.

The Lightbox, so-called because of its large expanses of glass which will create an aura of light externally, is regarded as a key element of the wider Glass Works redevelopment of the town centre and will be the first new-build part of the scheme to be completed.

“There’s a real excitement building in the town centre and I’m sure the public will be absolutely stunned by what’s been achieved,” added Paul.