Raft of family entertainment planned for Lightbox opening

Library @ the Lightbox – the first new build of The Glass Works – will celebrate its official opening with a jam-packed day of family entertainment on Saturday 13 July.

The grand opening of the Lightbox will see the Mayor of Barnsley, Cllr Pauline Markham, officially open the building with a special ribbon cutting ceremony at 10am, following speeches from Leader of Barnsley Council, Sir Stephen Houghton, Chief Executive Sarah Norman and Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley Central and Mayor of the Sheffield City Region.

As part of the opening ceremony, author, poet and Freeman of the Borough Ian McMillan will read out a specially designed poem. He’ll be joined by Barnsley’s Young Poet Laureate, Eloise Unerman, who will also perform a reading.

From there, locals will be able to explore the state-of-the-art community hub while enjoying special musical performances from Horizon Community College students and Dodworth Colliery Brass Band.

Children’s favourite Peter Rabbit™ will make an appearance, while actor and storyteller Chris Cade will host an adventure-filled story time.

A range of other activities will take place, including story and rhyme sessions and mythical creature workshops. To book a place, visit barnsley.gov.uk/libraries. Library @ the Lightbox will also be open on Sunday 14 July from 11am-3pm with more activities to get involved with.

The Library @ the Lightbox forms the cornerstone of the town centre redevelopment, with its striking design and transparent glass exterior that will illuminate the new town square as the regeneration edges towards a 2021 completion.

Each of the unique four floors provides a range of digital services including cutting-edge virtual reality, a training suite complete with a 65-inch interactive touch screen, tablet computers and a variety of innovative technology.

The fully accessible, modern building includes a sanctuary room for people with autism and will play host to a Music and Memories Group supported by the Alzheimer’s Society, designed for people living with dementia and their carers.

The Makerspace lab on the ground floor will be used to promote interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from a young age. Children will also be able to learn basic coding subconsciously through stimulating play.

By incorporating innovative digital technology, story times will be brought to life through images, lights and sounds, and will help to develop speech, language and reading.

Cutting-edge virtual reality kits are available to use for gaming in simulated and immersive environments or exercise, enabling users with limited mobility to practice basic movements.

Meanwhile, the library’s events space will act as a multi-purpose venue able to hold large events, workshops and activities, while its rooftop terrace will offer fantastic views of the town centre.

The building’s low energy design makes it both economical and sustainable, and the useable top floor provides opportunities for functions and events.

Cllr Jenny Platts, spokesperson for Adults and Communities, said: “We can’t wait to welcome everyone to explore this sophisticated community hub and dynamic social space to meet and learn in.

“This modern and adaptable facility is filled with natural light from its glass exterior and white bookcases create a calm yet inspiring atmosphere.

“A big thank you to Henry Boot Construction, Queensberry, Turner and Townsend and everyone involved in the development of the Library @ The Lightbox and the Glass Works scheme. It’s a fantastic building and Barnsley should be proud of it.

“I want to give special thanks to the people of Barnsley for their cooperation and patience while we’ve carried out this work. We can’t wait for you all to see it.”

Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley Central and Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: “I am delighted that Barnsley Council are opening a brand-new central library. It will be a fantastic resource for our Town; helping to bring people together and making Barnsley an even better place to live, work, visit and invest in.

“As a former Shadow libraries minister I have long championed the importance of libraries as a unique and important public space and I encourage our residents to make the best possible use of this brilliant new facility.”

Ryan O’Loughlin, Director at Henry Boot Construction, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Library @ the Lightbox delivery team, working collaboratively with Barnsley Council, NPS Barnsley & IBI Architecture to deliver the project to the very highest standards.

“60 per cent of our project staff are from Barnsley, and we have used local contractors wherever possible - the Library @ the Lightbox construction has always had a community feel about it. We hope the people of Barnsley are as proud of it as we are”.

The opening of Library @ the Lightbox is part of Barnsley’s Big Weekend on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 July. Find out more about Barnsley's Big Weekend.

The annual Mayor’s Parade will take place following the opening of the Lightbox from 1pm, with Pride Barnsley, Destination Barnsley equality festival and a 5k run and one-mile fun run taking place on Sunday 14 July.

The Sunday will also see dinosaurs return to Barnsley town centre alongside sports activities, a climbing wall and crazy golf.

Visit Love Barnsley Town Centre on Facebook for more information.

This news is linked to Town Spirit, our new way of working better together. We believe that if everyone in Barnsley does just one thing, we can make our borough a more welcoming place to live, work, invest and visit.

We’re committed to making Barnsley better; creating a vibrant, family-friendly town centre, full of opportunity and potential. #OwnIt by visiting Barnsley town centre regularly, spending your money locally and positively promoting your town.

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