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Town library set to close ahead of opening of new chapter

PUBLISHED: 11:07 09 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:13 09 January 2019

Officials mark the topping out ceremony of the new Eye Library which will open to the public for the first time on January 24. Picture: Simon Buck

Officials mark the topping out ceremony of the new Eye Library which will open to the public for the first time on January 24. Picture: Simon Buck

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When Eye library opened it was never designed to be a permanent home for the service.

And now some 40 years later the building where generations have borrowed books is to finally close with a new chapter for the town about to begin.

Love Our Library protesters at Eye Library in 2011 when it was threatened with closure. It is now about to be replaced by a new library. Picture: Angela SharpeLove Our Library protesters at Eye Library in 2011 when it was threatened with closure. It is now about to be replaced by a new library. Picture: Angela Sharpe

The current library on Buckshorn Lane will close for the last time this Sunday at 3pm. When the service reopens on January 24 at 2pm it will be in a new library in Cross Street, built in a former highways office and workshop that had lain empty for several years.

The current library has served the town well for four decades but the building is considered to be outdated and is costly to maintain. It is being replaced with a purpose-built modern library with additional storage space and accessible toilet facilities.

The new building, which has been funded by the sale of the current site for housing, was completed at the end of last year and is currently being fitted out ahead of its opening.

The current Eye Library on Buckshorn Lane which is about to close ahead of the opening of the town's new library. Picture: Simon ParkerThe current Eye Library on Buckshorn Lane which is about to close ahead of the opening of the town's new library. Picture: Simon Parker

Robert Whiting, Suffolk County Council’s deputy cabinet member for property, said: “Now the main building work is complete, Suffolk Libraries can move on with plans to fit out the new modern interior for Eye Library, which will offer space for library services, community activities, events and a meeting space for people to hire. We are really pleased with the building work. It has been designed in a style which is sympathetic with neighbouring buildings in Eye.”

Though the move between buildings has been planned to minimise the impact on customers as much as possible there will be a temporary closure of library services in the town before people see the benefits when the new library opens.

While the library is closed people can use any other Suffolk library, the nearest being Stradbroke and Debenham. Any library loans from Eye due back during the closure will have their return date automatically amended until after the new library opens.

Officials mark the topping out ceremony of the new Eye Library which will open to the public for the first time on January 24. Picture: Simon BuckOfficials mark the topping out ceremony of the new Eye Library which will open to the public for the first time on January 24. Picture: Simon Buck

Love Our Library protests were held when the current library was threatened with closure in 2011 and the new building ensures the service remains in the town.

Guy McGregor, county councillor for Eye, said: “This is something we are very excited about. It is probably almost unique in the country at the moment – a local authority opening a new library.”

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