Cardiff Central Library Review - A New Addition to Cardiff

Cardiff Central Library

Cardiff, Wales has a new, well-equipped beautiful central library.  On several previous visits to this city, the library has been my help and support, allowing me computer use, offering kind words and providing helpful information.  On my first visit the library was small and cozy, located just outside of the shopping mall central to the city.  On my next visit, the library had moved a few blocks away and was somewhat less accessible to my beaten track but the help they provided allowed me to complete a trouble free trip to Machynlleth, the home of Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT).

Entering the new Cardiff Central Library

Visiting Cardiff again, this time in early spring, the weather was inhospitable and exploring by bus and/or train just did not capture my interest.  Therefore, I headed to the library again.  The potential use of the computer was compelling, despite the cold blustery wind and intermittent rain.  Approaching the building where the library was located on my last visit, I was disappointed to see it was closed.  Following the map more accurately, I walked around the corner and saw signs that said,  “new library open”.  After a few more steps, a beautiful modern building was before me, and further still was the front door welcoming one and all  to the Cardiff  Central  Library.

Getting help

Stepping in, I was amazed.  It is large, open and brightly colored. I was fortunate in that the library had a “soft opening” about a week before my visit.  Its “grand opening” will take place in the summer when all of the building is complete including hardscape and landscape.

The Cardiff Central Library is the most sustainable new building in the fastest growing capital in Europe.

The library’s website states that:

“The library building is an impressive six storey 55,000 sq feet, and boasts the latest characteristics in environmental architecture including a green roof, which is designed to enhance biodiversity through selection of local native species, provide rainwater retention, reduce heat gain during summer and improve thermal insulation during winter. Other sustainable features include energy and water efficient services, and materials with low environmental impact. The building is a fitting gateway to the Capital City welcoming visitors as they approach from the Central train station.”

(L)Maggie Simpson, Library Assistant and Katrina Coopey, Local Studies Librarian

I began my exploration on the fifth floor where I spoke with Katrina Coopey, Local Studies Librarian and Maggie Simpson, Library Assistant.  On the same floor, I observed a class of enthusiastic (senior citizen) students learning to use the computers in the classroom.  The enthusiastic group welcomed me in and explained they are the University of the Third Age.  The fifth floor is the place to go to find the “Cardiff Capitol Collection” and “The Wales Collection”.

University of the Third Age

The fourth floor has a wide range of non-fiction books and one meeting room.  The third floor has Art, History, Languages, Literature and a music area that stopped me in my tracks.  The listening area with walls of CD’s was impressive though not so unusual, but I could not believe the shiny white grand piano in the center of the library.  Anyone who is a library member regardless of their musical ability  can reserve playing time  because the headphones allow people to play to their hearts content without disturbing other library users.  What a lovely asset!

Listen to a CD or play the piano

Descending to the second floor, I was impressed by the newspaper reading area with the wall of pictures.  People seemed so comfortable as they sat reading.  The smaller pictures by artist Neil Canning who has been inspired by living in Wales line the wall.  Large versions of these pictures hang on each floor.

Talking books and a comfortable place to read

Another area on this floor that is close to my heart is the section where people are listening to talking books and relaxing in comfortable chairs while reading fiction.

Neil Canning's pictures fill the wall

The Children’s Library is on the first floor but has an entrance of its own. It is inviting and colorful and parents and children were enjoying it.

The Children's Library

On the ground level one has quick picks of popular titles, quick access to PC’s, reservations pick-up point and just connected to but not part of the library is the “Connect to Cardiff-Your direct link to Council services”, C2C.

C2C, "Connect to Cardiff-Your direct link to Council services"

Visitors to Cardiff will find a stop at the Cardiff Central Library uplifting and helpful.  And there are computers available everywhere.

Choose a computer

Cardiff Central Library
Mill Lane
CF10 0FL
Tel:029 20382116
[email protected]

Photos: B. Keer

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