THE ribbon has been cut to mark the long-awaited return of Liskeard’s newly refurbished library.

After years of hard work battling and overcoming barriers like COVID, planning, funding, and nesting wildlife, the library was able to re-open its doors to the town with a special inaugural event on Saturday.

Help was needed to open the site, and so, prior to the event, the team slipped two golden tickets inside books which were then placed around the town for budding readers to find. 

The lucky winners were PJ and Toby who were delighted to cut the ribbon. They were joined on the day by CEO Lindsey Hall, Mayor of Liskeard Cllr Simon Cassidy and Cornwall Council’s Julie Zessimedes.

During the day there was music from local musicians, storytelling and creative crafts, printing bookmarks and a chance to try virtual reality and Lego robotics.

Hundreds of people made their way through the doors during the day and on Saturday they had 99 users who signed up for the first time or returned having not used their library membership for more than two years. 

The team loaned 463 books on Saturday alone.

Real Ideas, the group behind the libraries return, has worked in partnership with Cornwall Council. Liskeard Library will provide access to the library service for all, with a range of activities and new opportunities to engage with digital technology. The much loved Passmore Edwards library, built in 1898, has undergone a £1.5-million renovation to create a contemporary space fit for the 21st century. Wherever possible, the original features of the celebrated Passmore Edwards building have been restored, alongside changes to create larger, more accessible spaces inside and outside, through a new courtyard and deck. Liskeard Library has been funded by the Shared Prosperity Fund as well as the Architectural Heritage Fund and G7 with Cornwall Council.

The head of culture, leisure and Libraries for Cornwall Council, says she’s proud to be part of such a great project that will bring Liskeard together and provide creative opportunities for young people. She says its design is modern, bright and inviting allowing customers to feel welcomed into the space with open arms.

She said: “This is really good news for Liskeard. Devolution is all about giving local people control over their local community spaces. I am particularly proud that the devolution of Liskeard Library completes our Library Transformation project, which has seen 24 libraries across Cornwall being handed over successfully to local communities in recent years. 

“We know that libraries promote a life-long love of reading, but this new space offers a place where people can meet, work, access courses to help them get on and gain access to IT, free WiFi, and digital skills to reach their full potential, whatever their age. I look forward to seeing for myself the transformation of the space and congratulate all who have made it happen.”

Liskeard Library will offer space for reading, a modern café offering drinks and light lunch options, co-working spaces, and creative workshops. It is inclusive to people of all ages and will provide a vibrant community and working space in Liskeard town centre. 

The CEO at Real Ideas has said: “We’re thrilled to be involved in the regeneration of Liskeard Library. It’s been well worth the wait. Everything has now come together and it will be fantastic to see old and new visitors come through the doors. We’re looking forward to providing a space and building full of opportunities for all and collaborating with Cornwall Council to ensure the library provision for the local area.”

The library will now be open six days a week 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 8.30am to 7.30pm on Thursday and 9am to 3pm on a Saturday.