A new state-of-the-art Customer First Centre has been officially opened in Wallsend.
Bringing together library facilities, customer service suite, public access computers and community facilities, Wallsend Customer First Centre is the fourth such centre to be opened by North Tyneside Council and it is already helping make council services more accessible to the public.
Since it opened in February, more than 20,000 people have used its facilities, nearly 9,000 people have borrowed a book, and 405 new library members have been welcomed.
The library was officially opened on Friday by Mary Glindon, MP for North Tyneside, who was joined by Wallsend-born actress Charlie Hardwick, who is best known for her role as Val Pollard in ITV’s Emmerdale.
Charlie said: “At the library you can dip into books, magazines and music and learn what you love.
“The homework I did sitting in the library was always better than what I did at home.
“Congratulations to North Tyneside for this beautiful, beautiful, modern library.”
In opening the centre, Mrs Glindon said: “It’s a real honour to be opening this centre.
“The council has shown vision and commitment to the town; this centre is part of the town’s new start and a tangible example of Wallsend’s future promise.”
Other guests included elected Mayor Norma Redfearn, North Tyneside Council’s chief executive Patrick Melia, members of the library’s focus groups, and parents and babies taking part in a special Bounce and Rhyme session.
Norma Redfearn added: “This is an absolutely fantastic facility, which is already attracting people to the town centre and benefitting local businesses.
“Wallsend’s people truly deserve this and I’d like to thank them for working with the council to develop the potential of this site.”
The choir of St Bernadette’s RC School then provided musical entertainment for guests as they toured the library facilities.
One of many special features in the library area is the Story Chair, which was specially commissioned and made by artist Penny Payne and features design contributions from pupils from Richardson Dees Primary School, who were in attendance to see the finished chair for the first time and hear a story read by Penny.