Longer library opening hours among changes in north Taunton

This is The West Country: David Hall David Hall

LONGER library opening hours and more child care places are expected after a revamp of local services in north Taunton.

Priorswood Library, in Eastwick Road, is moving to neighbouring Hillside Children’s Centre, while Brook Green Early Years children’s nursery will relocate from Hillside to the vacated library, increasing its capacity.

Some of the Hillside offices will also move, so the facility can share resources with the library.

County Hall says the benefits are: l More nursery places for local children; l Potential for more flexible and longer library opening hours, supported by volunteers, self-service technology and sharing resources with Hillside; l Better use of both buildings; l The library, children’s centre and nursery working in a more integrated way; l Advice, information and services more readily available to the community.

Work to Hillside to enable the library to relocate is due to start on Monday, including remodelling the reception to create a shared library and children's centre reception, removing non-structural walls to create an open, fully accessible library space, providing a library workroom with easy external access, new lighting and IT, and a self-service terminal so library users can return books outside normal hours.

Cllr David Hall, cabinet member responsible for libraries, said: “I’m pleased this will result in a modern and practical facility to meet the demands of 21st Century library users.”

Cllr Frances Nicholson, responsible for children’s centres, said: “Hillside has a vital role in contributing to the health and well-being of babies and young children in Priorswood.

“Once the full conversion is complete I’m certain the benefits of integrated working will be fully seen and result in an increase of public use for all the services.”

The library will operate in its present building during the work, apart from a brief closure at the end of March, while children’s centre services will continue as normal.

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