Cobham Library has reopened in a spacious new building which also offers a range of community services.
The revamped library is part of the new Cedar Centre in Cedar Road – a busy community hub which also boasts a children’s centre, meeting spaces, information drop-in sessions and coffee facilities.
Surrey County Council runs the centre in conjunction with a not-for-profit group made up of members of the community, helping ensure that services offered are responsive to local needs.
The council operates the library but leases the rest of the building to Cobham Cedar Centre Limited, an innovative social enterprise run ‘by the community for the community’.
The striking new home for the library and community centre was constructed by Shanly Homes as part of a deal which will also see the developer create 13 new homes for the area.
The centre was officially opened by Surrey County Council Chairman Sally Marks on Thursday 16 July.
Light, airy and stylish, the new library is a more comfortable environment to work and relax in.
As well as a range of adult and children’s fiction and non-fiction, it boasts internet-connected computer terminals with office software, laptop plug-in points, free wi-fi and photocopying services. CD audiobooks and DVDs are also available for hire.
The children’s area is larger and more flexible than in the previous building with the aim of making rhyme times and story times more interactive and fun.
Mrs Marks said: “The Cedar Centre and library is so much more than the sum of its parts and aims to do even more for the Cobham community. This project was made possible by community spirit, co-operation and partnership so it gives me great pleasure to perform the opening ceremony.”
Richard Walsh, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Localities and Community Wellbeing, said: ‘Libraries are an important public service at the heart of communities and I’m delighted this state-of-the-art new library is now open in Cobham.
‘The way people use libraries is changing which is why it’s so important we continue to adapt and improve our library service, while the social enterprise which runs the community hub at the Cedar Centre is a great example of the community pulling together to help shape local services.’
The library takes up the whole first floor of the Cedar Centre, with quick choice shelves on the ground floor for users to browse and borrow from. The building boasts a welcome area with coffee facilities and a community information desk, while information drop-in sessions are provided by organisations including Surrey Police, Volunteer Centre Elmbridge and SurreySave.
Cobham Sure Start Children’s Centre is also now based there. Additional meeting space is available for non-commercial organisations free of charge.
The community hub is run by local volunteers six days a week and wants more people to come forward to help.
For more information on the Cedar Centre Community Hub and volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 01932 795360.
For more information about Cobham’s library service, visit www.surreycc.gov.uk/libraries