Minister praises 'thriving' library at official opening
Oxfordshire’s libraries are “thriving – not just surviving”. That was the verdict of Libraries Minister Michael Ellis MP at the official opening of Oxfordshire County Library.
The newly refitted facility welcomed more than 100 guests including staff, volunteers and community groups who have helped ensure the county’s 43 branches have a bright future.
World famous author and passionate libraries advocate Philip Pullman was also on hand to offer some sage words on the importance of libraries and the influence they have had on his life.
Oxfordshire County Council Chairman Cllr Zoe Patrick welcomes guests to the library.
Celebrated author and libraries campaigner Philip Pullman
Mr Ellis toured the library and spoke with staff and volunteers about its transformation and wider network of Oxfordshire branches. He also tried out the new ‘Makerspace’ by taking part in a technology workshop with children from a local Beaver group.
Mr Ellis said: "This is a wonderful example of a library that is an integral part of the community here and I want to congratulate Oxfordshire County Council, and all the staff, partners and volunteers for all the work they have done to rejuvenate this library."
He added: "We want to see libraries thrive - not just survive - and this is an example of a library that is clearly thriving. This is a classic example of how to do it and protect our libraries, and they are still greatly valued by many people."
'Front door' for council services
The newly refitted Oxfordshire County Library features 70 public computers, a ‘Makerspace’ for community activities and a bigger and better children’s library.
It serves as a 'front door’ for people to access wider council services and there is also support for anyone needing help to get online.
The council’s Cabinet Member for Cultural Services Lorraine Lindsay-Gale said: "This library is the hub that coordinates the services in a network of 43 libraries across the county. We want our libraries to be seen and used as dynamic focal points for the people they serve, bringing people together and helping to cement a true sense of place.
"I am proud of the fact that Oxfordshire has kept all its libraries open and this could not have been done without working in partnership with communities. The hard work and commitment of Friends Groups has been instrumental and I need to thank them all."