The new Trowbridge library and café were officially opened in County Hall today, promising improved services and better access to local government.
Wiltshire Council’s leader Jane Scott, who cut the ribbon with help from youngsters from Newtown Primary School, said they had turned their vision into reality.
The library is larger than its predecessor across Bythesea Road, and contains 40,000 books, with free WiFi access, self-service technology and a reference section.
The adjacent reception and courtyard café is intended to allow people to meet up with councillors and officers to discuss their issues.
Cllr Scott said: “Staff from every department will be based here at all times so people can come in and make an appointment, or they will come down if available, and talk out in the courtyard.
“Our vision is to make better use of all our public buildings, making them practical, more efficient and welcoming to local people to use, not just to access council services but also to use for community activities and events.”
The £22 million refurbishment has thus far seen one wing of County Hall partly demolished and re-built to modern energy efficiency standards.
The council plans to cut its 95 existing buildings to just three main hubs, including County Hall, reducing maintenance and energy costs, and claims the project will help save more than £85 million over the next 25 years.
Cllr Scott confirmed that the council was still looking for developers to take on the former library and offices site on the other side of the road, after a previous bid failed back in 2010.
“It would be good to see something there which will compliment what we have here, and the new cinema site opening as well, perhaps a mix of restaurants, shops and housing,” she said.
“But because of the recession it is difficult for regeneration projects to get started.”