The Word is out in South Shields

The first design concepts have been released for the planned new library and digital media centre in South Shields, to be called 'The Word'.

5 March 2015

  • External view

The Word is out!

‘The Word’ has been revealed as the name of the new library and digital media centre which will be the jewel in the crown of the £100 million regeneration of South Shields town centre.

The state-of-the-art facility will be a regional centre inspired by all aspects of the written word. The three-storey building, being built on the town’s Market Place, will celebrate the Borough’s literary heritage.

Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “The Borough’s tradition of writing stretches right back to Bede, who was one of this country’s truly great authors and scholars. The Word will marry the traditional library with a superb 21st century digital environment, reflecting the fact that the written word comes in so many different forms these days, from screenplays to social media.

An impressive range of facilities

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

The building’s name has been revealed on World Book Day. Its logo reflects the building’s circular shape with a wireless symbol representing communications in and out. 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.

The Word will be funded through South Tyneside Council’s Capital Investment Programme and is planned to open in late 2016.

The ground floor

The ground floor has been designed to be welcoming to both regular users and new visitors. Upon entering the building the first thing to notice will be the large three storey atrium. The ground floor will also incorporate a large exhibition space which will showcase themes and exhibitions linked to the written word. The ground floor will also include:

• Library space
• Video art/ photography pod
• Computer gaming area
• Design and innovation area with 3D printers
• Café
• Retail area

The first floor

The first floor will celebrate literature and history and will include:

• Local studies literature
• Enhanced family history area
• Digitised archive
• A rolling programme of exhibitions from archived material
• Links to the Michael Chaplin Tyne Voyages Stories
• A community room for author talks, film shows and community events
• A boardroom

The second floor

The second floor will be dedicated to children and young people. Stories will be brought to life, and children will be able to interact, touch and visualise books. Facilities will include:

• An immersive story-telling experience
• Tactile children’s play area
• Under 5s section
• 5-8 year olds section
• 8-12 year olds section
• Video and radio recording studios
• OpenZone: a high-tech ICT centre that delivers innovative and exciting ICT to children and young people

OpenZone, which can support up to 60 children at a time, is a new interactive, learning experience for children. It is a high-tech ICT centre that delivers innovative and exciting ICT to schools across South Tyneside. Moving Open Zone into The Word means providing world-class facilities including a flexible learning space with access to ICT equipment, a recording studio for video and radio production, an immersive space that helps with creative learning.

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