This new Ballymena Central Library has already proved that it can provide a service which is up-to-date and has taken advantage of today's cutting edge technology. One happy user referred to it recently as 'a honey pot' of a place.
The entrance of the Pat's Brae Library is clearly pronounced with a vibrant orange wall running into the building, and a high level book spine sign in stainless steel and illuminated with spotlights.
The building has a welcoming entrance which leads directly to facilities for the younger user and also to the main issue desk. There is provision to check emails quickly and a self service machine.
To increase transparency, the Pat's Brae elevation is of freestanding cylindrical steel columns, powder-coated aluminium curtain walling and anti-sun glass.
The children's library is furnished with low level book displays, wooden furniture, play mat and beanbags in primary colours. The children's section is extremely decorative with clever use of signing. The curved turquoise blue back wall provides an amphitheatre look.
Local Ballymena artist, Louise O'Boyle has created a nursery rhyme sculpture, which nestles perfectly on the centre of the wall. This modern sculpture is well designed and the clever use of colour conveys a cutting edge feel to the backdrop.
The first floor offers great surprise and satisfaction where the public accommodation opens out and presents a very generous space. This space is made more interesting by the angled, raised ceiling area with superb levels of natural day lighting from clerestory glazing.
The changes in ceiling levels add greatly to the character of the spaces where differing library functions are located.
The latest computer technology is available for users, including the latest software package and free Internet access for library members. These IT facilities are greatly appreciated by the public and are always well used by all sections of the community.
The Local Studies section is enhanced with black and white framed prints of yesteryear Ballymena landmarks and surrounds. These prints are very effectively mounted on the vivid orange rear wall to this area thus reflecting the clever marrying of modern and traditional.
Two public meeting rooms within the library facility have been skilfully and thoughtfully integrated to offer flexible ancillary accommodation depending on user requirements.
One room is tailored to suit business events complete with projector and white board. Small conference and hospitality can be offered from the buffet style kitchen space discreetly located behind a bespoke sliding timber panelled screen.
The cool blue/grey colour scheme contrasts well with the ash wood used for doors, sliding screen, window linings and skirtings.
Throughout the interior of the library, soft pastel colours and white are used extensively for general background walls structure and light wells with feature walls painted vivid orange and turquoise.
The overall colour schemes within the public areas are very attractive and well coordinated with the full cooperation of library staff.
1. William Keown Trust Access Awards , 2. Secured by Design award from the Police Service for Northern Ireland (PSNI)
Type of library
McCutcheon & Wilkinson, Ballymena
Features and services
Meeting rooms, Open learning provision, Provision of special materials
Access within building, Assistive technology
Services and facilities suppliers