South Tyneside’s newest public building - The Word - was officially opened to visitors, today.
People were seen queuing since 8am to ensure they were one of the first through the doors of the new-look library and digital media space.
The centre spanning over three floors boasts a range of facilities including exhibition space, a computer gaming area, digitised archives and a children’s immersive storytelling area.
For those walking through the doors for the first time, they had nothing but positive feedback for the centre.
Eight-year-old Kaine Oley visited the venue with his mum Joanne. He said: “It’s really clean and it’s fabulous. It’s just amazing.”
First through the door was Jean Dowley. The 65-year-old from South Shields had been queuing since 8am. She said: “I knew it would be lovely. I’ve been waiting for it to open from when they put the first brick down. It’s breath taking.”
I knew it would be lovely. I’ve been waiting for it to open from when they put the first brick down. It’s breath taking.”Jean Dowley
Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Alan Smith, said: “The reactions of people coming through the doors have confirmed what a fantastic building this is.
“There is such a vast array of facilities that will cater for everyone, from the fabulous immersive StoryWorld experience for young children to the Lost Dialects exhibition which may take older people on a trip down memory lane.
“I’m particularly pleased that local schools and colleges will be using The Word to enhance their ICT and literacy skills.”
Best-selling author Ann Cleeves, writer of the Vera and Shetland novels, visited The Word last week.
She said: “It is so forward thinking of South Tyneside Council to open this brilliant building which will be the envy of every local authority in the UK. I hope it will show other local authorities that this is the way to go.
“Our creative industries generate £8 million an hour for the country so spaces like The Word are incredibly important in nurturing the talent of those who want to work in these industries.”