'Super library' in Southwark opens its doors

Canada Water Library The building was designed by renowned architect Piers Gough

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A south London council has opened what it describes as a "super library".

The £14m Canada Water Library, opened by Southwark Council, will hold 40,000 books, CDs and films.

It will also be host to theatre performances, meetings and evening courses. Council bosses claim the library is the "shape of libraries to come".

The opening comes as many councils close libraries following reductions in their grant from central government.

The building, in an inverted pyramid shape, was designed by architect Piers Gough.

Councillor Veronica Ward, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: "I'm so proud to be unveiling this amazing building.

'Civic yet informal'

"Our libraries have been well managed over a long period of time and what we've managed to do is listen to people. Over 6,000 people said they would rather we did things like reduce hours or use volunteers than close libraries. That was enough people saying libraries were important.

"Eighty per cent of people borrow books but about 20% are looking for work or information around employment. Quite a few come in to try out IT to give them a bit of a hand. This library is going to be an absolute winner."

Architect Piers Gough, of CZWG Architects, said: "The brief was to put rather a large library on a rather small site. Hence we designed a building that leans out in every direction so we are able to have one library floor above really quite a small footprint on the ground.

"It's integrated with the Underground so the Tube station entrance is actually part of this building. You can come out of the Tube and borrow a book.

"I'm proud of the building. It looks civic yet informal. I hope it'll bring people in and embrace the public."

Labour-run Southwark Council has said it will not close any libraries.

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