Opening a new chapter at new £2.7m library

Sir Peter Bazalgette, left, officially opens the new Billingham Library and Customer Service Centre alongside the Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, Councillor Bob Cook.

Sir Peter Bazalgette, left, officially opens the new Billingham Library and Customer Service Centre alongside the Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, Councillor Bob Cook.

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Billingham’s new £2.7million Library and Customer Service centre has been officially opened.

Sir Peter Bazalgette, chairman of Arts Council England, visited the town centre to perform the opening ceremony.

The centre has a variety of library and customer services all under one roof, and is part of the ongoing regeneration of Billingham town centre.

Sir Peter is a leading figure behind global TV production

company Endemol and has also been awarded fellowships by BAFTA and the Royal Television Society, before being knighted in 2012 for services to broadcasting.

He met Stockton-on-Tees Borough councillors and senior officers before taking a tour of the building.

The opening ceremony also featured a performance by dance group Urban Kaos, and a poem specially written for the event by Kate Fox.

Sir Peter said: “I am delighted to officially open the new Library and Customer Service Centre in Billingham.

“It is a state-of-the-art facility providing the latest technology alongside a wide range of library and customer services and an excellent example of how libraries are being reimagined to lie at the heart of the community.”

Councillor Bob Cook, leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, said: “Buildings like this are important hubs of our local communities where residents can go to be informed, educated and supported.

“We’ve already seen an increase of four per cent in new memberships and eight pe rcent in books issued since the library’s initial opening in January.

“The Customer Service Centre is an essential part of the Council’s Access to Services programme which aims to make it as easy as possible for residents to interact with the Council through a range of different channels.

“There has been great feedback so far about the new facility and this has been echoed by the building being awarded the prestigious Best NewPublic Building prize at the Local Authority Building Control Northern Regional Awards.”

Visitors are benefitting from new self-service technology as well as improved ICT and reference facilities alongside the books. The building also house Billingham Town Council’s headquaters.

Contact Billingham Library on 01642 528084 or billingham.library@stockton.gov.uk