Spread the Word - it’s nearly time for the new South Shields library to open

Have you ever wanted to star in your own movie, listen to a story under the sea or print your own design?

All that will now be possible because South Tyneside’s newest addition The Word, the North East Centre for the Written Word in Market Place, South Shields, is much more than the average library.

The Word, Market Place South Shields Head of marketing Tania Robinson

The Word, Market Place South Shields Head of marketing Tania Robinson

While there’s still thousands of books to enjoy, the building which is part of the town’s £100m 365 regeneration plan, will appeal to the young and the old when it officially opens on October 22.

Starting on the building’s terrace, visitors will be able to use telescopes to see along the Tyne before enjoying three floors of digital equipment, exhibitions and learning zones.

The story world room on the second floor is sure to be a hit with little ones as they’re transported into fictional lands with the help of the 360 degree, floor to ceiling screens.

The design is the first of its kind for the region.

We’re encouraging everyone to come down.

Tania Robinson

Julia Robinson, principal librarian, said: “Children will be able to feel like they’re part of the story, there’s a number of different scenarios from under the sea, to Ancient Egypt or the Blitz.

“There’s under floor speakers too, so when a giant comes along you can feel the thuds. The kids who have already been in absolutely love it.

“It really brings stories to life and we will also be able to play films too.”

The Word isn’t just about the future - it’s also keen to preserve the borough’s past.

kids will love the story wolrd room.

kids will love the story wolrd room.

A dialect exhibition will be on display for the next year where people will be encouraged to donate their Geordie worlds.

Richard Barber, arts and heritage officer, said: “The exhibition celebrate lost dialects and the spoken word. We have a human jukebox where people will be able to hear old traditional songs like ‘Keep Your Feet Still Geordie Hinny’ being performed by Benny Graham.

“We’re wanting people to donate their Geordie words too. Eventually we’re going to commission an artist to use them for an installation at a later date.

“This area has many links to shipbuilding and mining and we find that many of the words used then are now dying out - so this is away to preserve them.”

The Word, Market Place South Shields

The Word, Market Place South Shields

The Word also pays homage to South Tyneside’s seafaring history.

On the first floor is a giant touch screen computer which is placed in front of glass windows which look out across the Tyne.

Visitors will be able to use a programme to track the vessels sailing past the window and find out where they’re off to.

Tania Robinson, head of marketing, communications and culture, said: “We felt it was important that we celebrated South Tyneside’s seafaring heritage.

“This device is like a giant i-Pad but very easy to use and I think older residents especially are going to be fascinated that they can see, in real time, all this information about the boats which are sailing past.

“There’s also another programme on it where you can find all the locations of shipwrecks along out coast - it’s fascinating.”

The green room.

The green room.

She added: “We’re encouraging everyone to come down from October 22 to find out for themselves just how much The Word has to offer,”

An exhibition showcasing the life of South Shields-born film director Sir Ridley Scott will also be on display.

70,000 books will be on offer.

70,000 books will be on offer.

The Word has plenty of space for visitors.

The Word has plenty of space for visitors.