The New Library
A public building with a human friendly scale
Meeting the brief on this site with a single storey building has resulted in a very tight fit but architect Mark Harris has successfully designed a building which although demonstrably a public building, has a human friendly scale and avoids dominating adjacent buildings.
Great care has been taken to make the building environmentally sensitive and natural light and ventilation, as well as energy efficient heating, are used effectively in its design. Roof glazing provides ventilation and maximises the use of natural light, which saves energy and reduces heat build up associated with artificial light. Solar gain is minimised by overhanging eaves and ceiling blinds.
The external colour scheme was chosen to complement the elements, the dark grey of the structural plinth and supporting roof, the light buff of the brickwork and the green of the windows, are carried through into the interior, with the addition of purple to complement the green.
Customers will now enjoy a greatly enhanced service from a building that is almost four times the size of the old and with extended opening hours.
Shelf stock of 15,000 items, plus videos and compact discs
It is anticipated that the use made of the Library will double, and generous funding has been allocated for new materials to support this; a shelf stock of some 15,000 items is displayed (twice the number in the old library) and now includes videos and compact discs.
The new Library also offers study seating, an induction loop for those with hearing impairment and facilities for disabled people, as well as a small exhibition area and full access to Essex Library’s Automated Network – ELAN.
The people of Benfleet have always appreciated and made use of the service that Essex Libraries has offered, and they can now expect the standard of facilities and range of material they deserve.
The new library is opened by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester.
The words on this page are copied from a leaflet issued by Essex County Council Libraries. Photos are by kind permission of the Library Manager, Sue Stevens and staff at Benfleet Library.