The new Lichfield Library will open to the public in it's new home on Monday 17th December.
The library will move to the ground floor of St Mary’s in the Market Square, ensuring that the city has a first-class library for the next 30 years.
The £1.2 million renovation has opened up the ground floor to accommodate the library and tourist information centre, while the first floor will include a permanent museum, exhibition and performance space, as well as an access point for digitised archive collections.
The new library is a new modern and flexible space that makes the most of the iconic features of St. Mary’s, exposing and incorporating original features including the church’s 19th century columns, altar, choir stalls and pews which is housed in the new study area and IT suite. The new library will also be equipped with computers, free wifi and 3D printers.
The new History Access Point will also be available from the 17th December, giving people the chance to search through a wealth of online historical records and archives that are now housed at Stafford’s Records Office.
The library will close it's doors at The Friary at 4.00pm on Saturday 1st December for the last time. Stock will then be transferred to St. Mary's ready for reopening on the 17th December.
Return dates of stock due back during this time will be extending by a week in most cases (see below). Remember that you can also renew and order stock online.
The move is backed by Lichfield District Council and the City Centre Development Partnership because it will increase footfall, boost the heart of the city and support local traders.
The move will also provide a secure future for the iconic St Mary's and The Friary.
Q. What are the main features of the new library?
- The new library accommodates most of the iconic features of the former St. Mary’s Church - including the church’s 19th century columns, altar, choir stalls and pews.
- The new library introduces a new study area, IT suite, computers, free wifi, tablet technology including a new digital table and a 3D printer.
- The library will be housed in modern space that is flexible enough to accommodate events and small performances.
- The first floor will have flexible performance and exhibition space with seating for more than 130.
- The new History Access Point will also be available from the 17th December – giving access to a wealth of online historical records and archives.
- The library will also house new self-service machines for customers to borrow, renew and return books.
Q. Why is the library relocating?
Relocating the library will:
- Safeguard the future of two landmark buildings - providing a secure future for the historic St. Mary’s and ensuring that The Friary is repaired and maintained into the future.
- Ensure that Lichfield has a fully accessible, flexible, first-class library in the centre of the city for at least the next 30 years.
- Offer better value for money for the taxpayers - the move will save up to £100,000 a year in running costs alone and the move will pay for itself in around seven years.
- Boost footfall in the library and St. Mary’s and support local traders.
- Provide a space (on the first floor) to house the History Access Point.
- Ensure the space fits our needs - the space currently used at the Friary is considerably more space than is needed.
Q. What is happening to The Friary?
The Friary is a Grade 2 listed building and it needs repair and care. Although the county council has maintained the building to a high standard, as with any listed building, there is considerable maintenance which the county council cannot continue to fund.
There are ongoing conversations regarding the future of The Friary. The facade cannot be altered as it is Grade II listed and cannot be altered.
Q. How will the History Access Point work?
The new History Access Point will continue to provide a range of sources including:
- Digitised Archive Service collections including wills, parish registers and marriage bonds
- Microfiche and microfilm records
- The local studies collection relating to Lichfield
The relocation to St. Mary’s is a real opportunity to get more people interested in their local and family history, and help strengthen the number of tourists exploring