Sunderland library gets £500,000 makeover

Exterior of City Library and Arts Centre
Exterior of City Library and Arts Centre
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SUNDERLAND City Library and Arts Centre is to get a £500,000 makeover.

The work, set to start later this month, will see improvements to the local studies library, a new computer lounge and introduction of free wi-fi access throughout the building.

Visitors will be able to test out tablet computers and e-readers, and the children’s section will also get a facelift.

Coun John Kelly, responsible for health, wellness and culture at Sunderland City Council, said the library is in “desperate need” of bringing up to date.

“We want to make it more welcoming for regular library users, and also encourage people who don’t use the library at the moment to come in and see what it has to offer,” he said.

“Researching your family history has become increasingly popular with programmes like Who Do You Think You Are? so I think improvements to the local studies library will be particularly welcome.

“We’re also really keen to press ahead with digitising some of the old images we have of Sunderland so we can make them more widely available. The new computer lounge and wi-fi will also make a big difference as will the improvements to the children’s library.

“Being able to project a series of different images on to the wall for story-telling sessions is much more exciting than having one static painting.”

The work to the City Library and Arts Centre will get under way after after nine city libraries were closed in an attempt by the city council to save £800,000 a year.

It was announced last week that community charity Back on the Map is to take over Hendon Library, as a centre for book-lending, drop-in IT centre, NHS services, and base for community groups. Volunteers hope it will reopen by April 1.

City Library will close for work to begin on February 24, and reopen on March 31.

Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art will remain open.