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Library turns over a new leaf

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Gravesend Library Sanding down the old cedar parqA new chapter in the life of one of Kent’s historic libraries is about to begin with the completion of a major £2.5 million upgrade.

The beautiful Carnegie building which hosts Gravesend Library in Windmill Street is currently being restored and enhanced.

The project is being undertaken by contractor WW Martin, to the design of Clay Architecture.

The original wall tiles and parquet flooring have been exposed and windows at the back of the library have been unblocked to create a much lighter space. Other conservation and refurbishment works to the original Edwardian library building include masonry and window repairs, re-roofing the existing slate roof, over-roofing of the existing flat roof, and refurbishing and upgrading the existing feature roof lights.

All slating and lead works were carried out by Complete Roofing Contractors Ltd. The slates used are Welsh natural.

The steel frames for the new annexe are now in place and looking up Windmill Street residents can see how the refurbishment and the new build will work together to create a stunning building.

Once the project is complete, Gravesend Library will offer a whole range of services, including a room for library events and community meetings, a courtyard reading garden, more local history material and better collections of books and other materials.

Opened in 1905, the Carnegie has become a landmark of the town centre, but after 106 years, a makeover is underway.

The Carnegie building, named after the millionaire who first funded it, will be transformed and will have new computers and books, once again making it the pride of the town centre.

Christoph Bull, the district manager of Gravesham and Dartford libraries, said: “The new library will be one of the best in the county, and will be just as much a community centre as a library.”

Facilities within the two and three-storey library buildings will include a community room which can be hired out, a room for teenagers, a place to register births and deaths, a reading garden, and of course lots of books.

There will also be a changing room with showers for adults who live in sheltered or assisted living accommodation, which they will be able to register to use.

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