‘The Word’ – Name revealed for new South Shields library and media centre

ARTIST'S IMPRESSION ... the new South Shields library and digital hub.
ARTIST'S IMPRESSION ... the new South Shields library and digital hub.

SPREAD ‘The Word’ as that’s going to be the name of South Tyneside’s new library and digital media centre.

The facility, which is part of the £100m regeneration of South Shields town centre, will be built in the Market Place,

The three-storey building’s name will be revealed today as part of World Book Day.

Coun John Anglin, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for regeneration and economy, said: “Everything that people love about the current library – fantastic books, great staff, thriving community groups – will remain, but will be housed in a superb state-of-the-art building, which will incorporate the very latest in digital technology.

“Here in South Tyneside we can count one of the country’s truly great authors, Bede, among our literary talent – and we want to build on that literary legacy.

“This will be a cultural institution which will celebrate the written word in all its forms – past, present and future.

This will be a cultural institution which will celebrate the word in all its forms – past, present and future.

Coun John Anglin

“We want The Word to stimulate creative ideas, and develop a legacy of ICT and literacy skills, especially among youngsters.

“This really is going to be an iconic building, which, as the centrepiece of our South Shields 365 regeneration plan, will draw people into the town centre and give it a new lease of life.

“We are confident that The Word will not only be a facility that residents, young and old, will love and value, but will attract people from far and wide.”

South Tyneside Council has entered into partnership with New Writing North to establish The Word as a real home for North East writing talent.

It will host writers’ workshops and exhibitions as well as a series of writers in residence.

Claire Malcolm, chief executive of New Writing North, said: “The North East has such a rich heritage of world-class writing and writers. Making a home for them in South Shields’ impressive new library will create an exceptional resource within the region, creating a meeting place for readers and writers to connect and work and ideas to be shared and explored.

“The region has always been a democratic place for literature but the development of The Word and its interest in connecting the region’s literary heritage to contemporary writing is a really exciting proposition for both those that write and those that love to read.”

The centre will house a range of facilities including exhibition space, computer gaming area, design and innovation studio with 3D printers, digitised archives, meeting rooms, children’s storytelling area, OpenZone IT suite, cafe and a rooftop restaurant and terrace providing stunning views over the river.

The council and its development partner Muse Developments will soon announce the contractor appointed to carry out construction of the building, which forms the first phase of the 365 project.

Preliminary works have been ongoing for several weeks to prepare the site for construction.

Archaeological investigations have already been completed on the former Wouldhave House site, trial holes have been hand dug to locate utilities and topographical, drainage, noise and ecology surveys have also been carried out.