Summertown Library grand reopening

Celebrations will be in full swing in North Oxford on Thursday when the freshly refurbished Summertown Library is officially reopened.

Marking the occasion with a symbolic ribbon cutting event will be Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Property, Cultural & Community Services, Lorraine Lindsay Gale, and the chairman of the Friends of Summertown Library, Marcus Ferrar.

Both will be speaking to specially invited guests about the successful partnership between the county council and the Friends. The much anticipated six-week refurbishment of the building in South Parade was only made possible by it and the Friends – a registered charity that galvanised support from the North Oxford community and beyond to raise £93,000.

Only a small amount of the funding needed for the library remodelling was available from existing county council budgets, but the Friends’ large contribution - raised from charitable trusts, individual donations, corporate sponsors, and from a series of popular Library talks - together with a small sum available from the council meant the project could go ahead.

The partnership has meant that all refurbishment work has been carried out to a high standard and mutually agreed every step of the way.

The library is now a bright, adaptable space with a layout much more suited to modern needs.

Inside there are:

  • new bookshelves, which will display books more effectively and attractively
  • space for events for up to 100 people
  • an expanded and relocated Children’s section to a more attractive position overlooking the Turrill Sculpture Garden at the rear of the building
  • new carpeting and fresh decoration

And the frontage has been refreshed with a smart new fascia, resurfacing, a dedicated disabled parking space and new ‘toaster-style’ cycle racks that can hold 10 bikes.

Mr Ferrar said: “The Friends of Summertown Library raised over £90,000 to fund the renovation of their Library. This is a huge achievement by our community, and the outcome is a magnificent success. The Library has been transformed – it’s brighter, more welcoming, and great for children and adults alike.

“Books and online information are more accessible, and the space can be adapted for our popular talks.

“The Council’s experts have done a splendid job with design and execution, and the Summertown community has established itself strongly as stakeholders in the future of the Library. This is not the end. The Friends of Summertown Library will continue to work closely with the Council’s Library Services to enhance it further.”


The County Council’s library service is staging a special conference for 20 library Friends groups from across Oxfordshire at County Hall on Friday, October 5.

Marcus Ferrar and Cllr Lindsay Gale will be among speakers informing delegates about the special relationships between the service and groups – highlighting the co-production of the Summertown refurbishment as a prime example.

Other groups will be sharing success stories and there will be representatives from the Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action group (OCVA) advising Friends on how they can recruit more volunteers, especially younger people, to strengthen groups and ensure libraries throughout the county continue to thrive.