The official reopening of Flint Library took place on 5 March 2020, coinciding with Aura Libraries’ celebration of World Book Day.
In 2019, Aura was delighted to secure £300,000 of funding for improvement works at Flint Library through a successful capital grant application to the Welsh Government’s Museums, Archives and Libraries Division (MALD). In addition to the £300,000, both Aura and Flintshire Country Council contributed to the development, totalling £360,000 in new investment.
Aura colleagues were joined on 5 March by Lord Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, and Leader of Flintshire County Council, Ian Roberts, to help celebrate the cutting of the ribbon!
On the day, the Aura team were joined by over 450 visitors including local schools who visited throughout the day to take part in World Book Day celebrations. Story teller Fiona Collins and poet Joy Winkler hosted fantastic sessions for children and adults to enjoy alike. Guests were also treated to a performance from Ysgol Croes Atti choir who performed brilliantly. Colleagues from Aura’s Leisure Services were in attendance to provide free health checks and various activities including yoga and mindfulness to emphasise the library’s repositioning as a Wellbeing Hub.
This funding has well and truly transformed the library which is now host to a community kitchen and heritage exhibition area. The children’s library, training rooms and main library, have also been redesigned and renovated in order to create more flexible community spaces.
Along with the refurbishments, Aura has implemented brand new self-service machines and updated the library’s ICT facilities to improve and modernise its digital provision.
Leader of the Council, Ian Roberts, expressed his enthusiasm about the development, saying: “I’m very pleased to hear that Flint Library has reopened after its development, which represents another positive step in Aura and Flintshire County Council’s ongoing partnership. The building has been renovated into a vibrant hub and is a huge asset to the town; I look forward to seeing what its future holds.”
Similarly, Lord Elis-Thomas stated: “I’m delighted Welsh Government has been able to support this project to provide modern and flexible library facilities to the local community – and to see this place full of activity on World Book Day, was a real pleasure. I have visited several co-located libraries across Wales and I have seen first-hand the improvements it can bring to the local community by having local services in one place – I wish this hub well for the future.”
The whole Aura team would like to thank everyone who attended on the day to celebrate World Book Day and the importance of library services in the community. Library manager, Susannah Hill, commented: “Now that the library doors have reopened, we will be able to deliver our services in new ways and offer much more to the Flint community. The library is now a modern and flexible space to explore stories and information, allowing us to offer a variety of activities and events for everyone. Book issues in February 2020 were up by 600 in comparison to last February which is fantastic – it’s been wonderful to see the reaction from the local community so far!”
The development of Flint Library represents an exciting new opportunity for Aura as we continue our mission as a not-for-profit organisation, benefitting the community of Flintshire.