The leader of Southwark Council has urged people in the borough to visit the new library and heritage centre, which opened last week with an exhibition about Southwark’s history.
The new centre on Walworth Road features local objects from Southwark’s past including the only known souvenir of Surrey Zoological Gardens, which closed in 1862.
Southwark Council, which launched the centre on Wednesday (May 19) alongside Lendlease, the developers of the nearby Elephant Park, said the exhibition will grow with input from local residents “to form a current and inclusive story of the borough.”
Other facilities include the library’s 20,000 books computers for public use and 22 quiet study spaces.
The centre also has an event space for 50 people, a temporary exhibition space, a ‘world wall’ celebrating global cultures and the Faraday Room, a space without electronic devices that can be booked for meetings or private study.
Cllr Kieron Williams, Leader of Southwark Council, said at the launch event: “I’m so proud to be unveiling this fantastic new library and heritage centre, where there is something for everyone. Whether it’s losing yourself in one of the new books, making free use of the computers, or holding your next community event, please come visit and take inspiration from unrestricted access to artefacts from Southwark’s layered past.
“The centre is all about telling the story of Southwark so truly belongs to every resident from Walworth and across the borough, past, present and future.”
The event was attended by guests including representatives from Southwark Pensioners, Walworth Society and Dawes Tenants and Residents Association. A larger launch is planned when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted fully this summer.
The library is now open from 10am-6pm Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm on Saturday and closed on Sunday. After Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, the library will be open as normal from 10am-8pm Monday to Friday, 10am-5pm Saturday and 12pm-4pm Sunday.