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GALLERY: £1.4m library opens in Lichfield church

A £1.4million library, tourist information centre and a gallery have opened in a former church for the first time.

Library supervisor Dawn Speck and operations manager Deb Clemson at the new library in the former St Mary’s Church in Lichfield
Library supervisor Dawn Speck and operations manager Deb Clemson at the new library in the former St Mary’s Church in Lichfield

Lichfield's new library opened to the public on the ground floor of the former St Mary's Church yesterday at 9am after two years of work.

In the building there is also a heritage and performance space on the first floor, along with a history access point for digitised archive collections.

Caroline Kerr in the performance space at the new library inside the church building

Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member responsible for libraries, said: “I am delighted to see this new library open in such a splendid setting after all this investment by the county council.

“I hope the people of Lichfield enjoy this brilliant building, which has been given a new lease of life, and that they make the most of everything it has to offer.”

Library supervisor Dawn Speck, Liz Leyshon and opps manager Deb Clemson
Jenny Lewis and Rebecca Jackson in the history access point

Work on the building, which was completed in 1870, has included exposing the church’s 19th century columns, incorporating etched glass screens into the new layout and retaining the altar, choir stalls and pews at the east end in an IT study area.

While one end of the first floor will have a balcony overlooking the level below, its central space will be occupied by a performance and exhibition space with seating for more than 130.

Apart from books, Lichfield’s library has free wi-fi and contains themed areas for children and teenagers, plus touchscreen tables, computer tablets and 3D printing facilities.

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