Mayor officially opens new Henry Bloom Noble Library

Her Worship the Mayor, Councillor Sara Hackman JP, has said the new Henry Bloom Noble Library is ‘yet another giant step forward in the Council’s public library provision.’


Her Worship with left to right Councillors John Skinner and Debbie Pitts, borough librarian Jan Macartney, Councillors John Faragher and Raina Chatel and Council leader Councillor David Christian

 Her Worship was speaking at the official opening of the library which relocated from Victoria Street to the former Top Shop site on the corner of Duke Street and Lord Street on January 4.


Councillors, officers, staff and contractors’ representatives heard Her Worship pay tribute to all those involved in the project, notably the library staff and ICT and Electrical Services sections, and say how she hoped the new library would become ‘a more integral part of our town centre’.


The relocation was, said her Worship, ‘driven by financial implications’, and an initiative that would save ratepayers’ money. She added: ‘I believe that even without the direct financial benefit the relocation would have been worthwhile to increase use of the library and help to revitalise this part of the town.’


Separately, the borough librarian Jan Macartney reported that in the first two weeks since the relocation, 265 new members had joined the library.


Speaking at the opening Mrs Macartney also praised her library team and ICT colleagues for all their hard work throughout the relocation, a project that had seen some ‘blood, sweat and tears’ but which had led to such a successful outcome and ‘a new chapter’ for the Henry Bloom Noble Library.


Library staff from left to right, Barbara, Sophie, Victoria, Jan and Shirley


The occasion also provided the opportunity for the Council Leader, Councillor David Christian MBE JP, to welcome the Manx Bard, Stacey Astill (pictured below), a former library employee, to the celebrations. Councillor Christian explained: ‘Last year during the Manx Music Festival she won the coveted prize of being the Manx Bard for the year, following on from TE Brown, who was awarded the honour posthumously in 2014.’


Ms Astill then recited a poem in praise of reading and the power of books and described the public library as ‘a marketplace of adventure’.


The new library provides greater convenience for customers with most collections housed on the ground floor, and only the study area, reference collection and local studies downstairs.


The children’s area is a bright space with new furniture, while the IT suite has 16 new PCs and two new Apple Macs. There is free wi-fi and charging points for customers using their own devices.

To mark the opening of the new library, membership is free to all residents island-wide for 12 months, after which membership for those living outside the borough will attract a fee: £20 reduced from £25 for adults, £10 down from £12.50 for senior citizens and £1 down from £2 for under 16s. There remains no charge for students who attend a Douglas school but live outside the borough.

The library opens at 8.30am every week day except Thursdays when it opens at 10am and closes at 7pm. Saturday opening times are 9am to 4pm.

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