Builth Wells Library 10

Stairs (with lift beyond), hanging sign department store style

Builth Wells Library 09

Self issue unit

Builth Wells Library 08

Ground floor public access pcs

Builth Wells Library 07

platform lift

Builth Wells Library 06

first floor - coffee machine, public access pcs, and newspapers; the lift is accessed through the double doors (which are kept open during library opening hours)

Builth Wells Library 05


Builth Wells Library 04

children's library

Builth Wells Library 03

shop front with DVDs, quick choice and fiction

Builth Wells Library 02

view of counter and fiction area from first floor

Builth Wells Library 01

first floor - relaxed seating, study and exhibition area.



The library is in a very good location on the High Street with on street parking and car parks nearby. The premises were converted from retail use in 1973, since when there had been a minimum of investment. Building work associated with this refurbishment provided full disabled access, with a lift to the first floor. This allowed a full range of services to be provided for the first time from both floors, although the provision of the lift and an accessible toilet has reduced space for services on the ground floor. Overall, the level of space after the refurbishment is still considered to be inadequate.

We saw the refurbishment as an opportunity to make full use of the space in the building, to relocate existing services and to introduce new ones. We wanted to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with a feeling of lightness and space, and an up-to-date but 'timeless' effect. The 'shop window' gave us the opportunity to attract the interest of passers-by and to promote our services more constructively.

The ground floor is bright, colourful and designed to attract the passer-by, children, and the busy quick-choice user. DVDs are in the window facing the street, with CDs, adult fiction, popular non fiction and quick choice, and the children's area. Upstairs there is a calm, relaxed feel, with comfortable and study seating, newspapers, a coffee machine, and exhibition space. The stock comprises large print, talking books, serious non fiction and reference, and local studies. The public access computers are available on both floors. The two different styles have worked very well, with young and old alike happily using the lift or stairs.

The library is predominantly single staffed, but with approximately 30% of opening hours covered by an additional staff member. A CCTV system is in operation on the first floor to assist with supervision. To ease the staff work load at peak points, and to aid the busy customer, we have installed a self issue unit at the counter.



The Building

The Building

Type of library

Small community library


105 m2




Powys County Council

Building contractor


The Space

The Space

Features and services

Special services


External features

Nature of site

Internal features

Design features

Energy efficiency


Accessibility provision

Access between floors

Interior designer

JDS and Opening the Book

Furniture suppliers

Opening the Book

Services and facilities suppliers


IT provision

Number of public computer terminals: 5

Seats/study places