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Lisburn Road Celebrates Library’s Official Opening on 23 November 2017

On Thursday 23 November, Lisburn Road Library held its official opening after a refurbishment project costing £1.44m. 

The guests enjoyed music on arrival by harpist Sharon Carroll and were entertained by schoolchildren from Donegall Road Primary School and St Bride’s Primary School who performed readings and recitals, highlighting the library as an accessible and welcoming space for the community.

Professor Bernard Cullen, Chairperson of Libraries NI, welcomed guests to the Official Opening and invited Leo O’Reilly, the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Communities (DfC), to perform the official opening and unveil a plaque to commemorate the occasion.

The official opening of Lisburn Road Library 

Ribbon cutting: Leo O’Reilly, the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Communities, cut the ribbon at the official opening of Lisburn Road Library, along with Helen Osborn, Acting Chief Executive of Libraries NI and Professor Bernard Cullen, Chairperson of Libraries NI.​ 

The Chairperson of Libraries NI expressed his thanks to the Department for Communities for providing the funding necessary to enable Libraries NI to undertake this refurbishment project, which cost £1.44 million and lasted nine months, reopening the doors to customers on 21 August 2017.

Speaking after a tour of the new premises, Leo O’Reilly, the Permanent Secretary of DfC, said:  

“The opening of a new library facility is a cause for celebration. It shows that the community is not just sur​viving but thriving. 

“Libraries make a positive contribution to people’s lives and these newly refurbished premises reflect the changing nature of our society with the incorporation of modern, educational, social and creative centres which will benefit people of all ages and backgrounds.”

Guests were also able to view an exhibition The First World War in Photographs, which is on loan from NMNI during November and is part of the George Hackney Collection. 

The refurbishment project included improved access through the creation of a new level entrance to the library and the installation of a platform passenger lift to the first floor while extensions to the rear of the library provide accessible public toilets, staff office and reception.

440 Lisburn Road was formally a private two-storey Victorian residence built circa 1895 by Alexander Devon, an oil and grease merchant and the refurbishment has ensured the retention of ornate features including tiled floors and cornicing; refurbishment of the original sliding sash windows; replacement of the slate roof and the former stable block and coach house has been refurbished to create a multi-use community meeting room and group space for members of the community to use. Customers can also access the refurbished courtyard which features new outdoor furniture and lighting.

The house is not listed but is located within the Malone Conservation Area which is considered to be an area of special architectural and historical interest, therefore the two monkey puzzle trees at the front of the property are protected by preservation orders.

Helen Osborn, Acting Chief Executive of Libraries NI, explained:  

“We are delighted to open to doors of Lisburn Road Library after a sympathetic refurbishment which has seen the retention of many of the library’s original features dating back to 1895. Despite retaining the Victorian look and feel of the library, the building now offers a brighter space throughout with all the range of stock and services of a modern library service, offering self-service facilities, free Wi-Fi access and customer computers. I would like to welcome everyone to call in and see the exciting improvements, to find out about the services available and to join.”

To become a library member, simply bring along a means of identification (which includes a home address) and then you can make use of the many free membership benefits. 

Lisburn Road Library’s opening hours are: Monday, Tuesday and Friday: 9:15am - 5:30pm; Wednesday: 12:30pm - 8:00pm; Thursday: 9:15am - 1:15pm and Saturday: 9:15am - 1:00pm.

For more information, contact Lisburn Road Library (440 Lisburn Road, BT9 6GR) on telephone: 028 9050 9223 or
email: lisburnroad.library@librariesni.org.uk 

The staff of Lisburn Road Library are photographed at the Official Opening event on Thursday 23 November.

Library Staff: The staff of Lisburn Road Library are photographed at the Official Opening event on Thursday 23 November. From l to r: Maura Barron, Branch Library Manager; Annette Tracey, Dearbhla Magill and Sharon Milligan.

Primary 7 children from St Bride’s PS performed Song of the Witches

St Bride’s PS pic: Primary 7 children from St Bride’s PS performed Song of the Witches: ‘Double, double toil and trouble’ from Macbeth and ‘Library Poem’ by Julia Donaldson and are photographed along with Maura Barron, Lisburn Road Branch Library Manager.

Pupils of Misspelled WordDonegall Road Primary School entertained guests at the Official Opening of Misspelled WordLisburn Road

Donegall Road PS pic: Pupils of Donegall Road Primary School entertained guests at the Official Opening of Lisburn Road Library with a selection of readings and poetry.​​​