As it celebrates its 50th anniversary, Godalming Library has officially reopened after being revamped to better meet the needs of 21st century readers.
When the library was built in 1965, all its stock was manually catalogued on cards and baby story and rhyme time sessions were unheard of.
Now the Bridge Street library boasts tens of thousands of titles logged in a fully searchable database, is open 55 hours a week and allows members to choose from thousands of ebooks without even leaving their homes.
Following its renovation, it has dedicated areas where customers can use free wifi and plug in laptops and tablets.
It also has a bigger and brighter children’s area, reflecting the growing popularity of visiting the library among young families.
Other features include a new multi-purpose community room and energy efficient windows to reduce heating bills.
Surrey County Council Chairman Sally Marks unveiled a plaque to mark the official reopening of the library.
Addressing those assembled, she said: ‘Those of us who treasure a good book are evangelical about their worth – and I sincerely hope that this library continues to grow and to reach out to people, especially those who have not yet discovered the love of reading.’
Anticipating the next major anniversary in the life of the library, pupils from Moss Lane School in Godalming filled a time capsule with items including a copy of the Surrey Advertiser and a library date stamp set. It is displayed in the children’s area and won’t be unlocked until October 2040 when the library will have been open 75 years.
Richard Walsh, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Localities and Community Wellbeing, said: ‘We are committed to ensuring libraries remain at the heart of their communities and we hope this refurbished library will serve the Godalming area for many more years to come.
‘We’ll continue to do all we can to improve residents’ experience of using our services against a background of huge financial pressures driven by rising demand for elderly care and school places.’