The Riverside, an innovative new cultural centre in the heart of Haverfordwest town centre, will open to the public this week.
The flagship facility, on the town’s riverside, will welcome visitors for the first time on Friday 7th December, from 10am.
The development, including a library, gallery, visitor information and coffee shop, is the result of an exciting partnership between Pembrokeshire County Council and the National Library of Wales.
Funding to build the facility came from a range of sources including Pembrokeshire County Council, Welsh Government, the Wolfson Foundation, the Foyle Foundation, and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.
Haverfordwest Town Council have given a five-year funding package to ensure the library is able to open throughout the year on Saturday afternoons, the previous library having been open on Saturday mornings only.
Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, Paul Miller, said it was an exciting new facility not only for Haverfordwest but for Pembrokeshire generally.
Councillor Miller went on: “It provides a blueprint for the way we need to engage with our customers. I look forward to similar innovative developments in the future to help revitalise our town centres.”
Mike Cavanagh, Head of Cultural, Leisure, Tourism and Registration Services, said The Riverside would be a cultural centrepiece that both the town and the county can be proud of.
“The eclectic offer caters for the needs of our local library users, while being an attractive destination for visitors to Pembrokeshire.”
“We anticipate welcoming 200,000 visitors per year to our riverside location, and hope to play a key role in kick-starting the regeneration of the centre of Haverfordwest.”
At the centre of The Riverside will be a 21st Century library space, blending traditional book stock with online access and self-service technology.
For the first time in a Pembrokeshire library, customers will be able to loan, return and renew their items using self-service kiosks which work like magic!
An interactive story wall will be the focal point of a fantastic children’s offer, featuring illustrations by local artist Jackie Morris.
The story wall will be set within a castle-themed children’s area, complete with children’s reading tower for reading, learning and play.
The library will also provide a comfortable space for young people, including reading booths, graphic novels and gaming.
A new, discreet area called The Life Hub will feature a wealth of information on Health & Wellbeing, and Work and Money Skills. This space will also have a dedicated activity room which will be available to hire by organisations and charities whose work involves health or employment-related activities.
A gallery of national significance will bring some of Wales’ most important artwork and objects to the county.
In partnership with the National Library of Wales, the gallery will host a programme of thematic six month exhibitions that display the library’s iconic collections, as well as a permanent exhibition on the history, culture, arts and legends of Pembrokeshire.
“We are delighted to be a part of this exciting new project in collaboration with Pembrokeshire County Council,” said Linda Tomos, Chief Executive and Librarian at The National Library of Wales.
“Extending and improving access to our vast reservoir of cultural heritage, increasing public engagement and tackling social inequalities through culture and sharing of information are all recognised priorities in our The Nation's Memory: Informing the Future: Strategic Plan 2017-2021.”
“We look forward to sharing our collections with the people of Pembrokeshire and beyond.”
The opening exhibition, Kyffin Williams: Land and Sea, will feature the best collection of work from Wales’ most famous artist Sir Kyffin Williams to celebrate the centenary of his birth.
The National Library of Wales will deliver a programme of exciting events and education activities to accompany this exhibition.
The Riverside will also be a key stopping point for some of the County’s 4.3 million annual visitors, thanks to a partnership with Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.
A wealth of visitor information, including maps, leaflets and tablets pre-loaded with quick links, will be available to visitors.
Volunteers will also be on hand to assist with visitor enquiries during the visitor season.
Visitors will be able to unwind with a coffee and a riverside view at the venue’s own coffee shop.
Tŷ Coffi, run by Café Rio, will offer a range of high quality coffees roasted in Wales and a menu featuring locally sourced ingredients.
Group bookings, including meetings and celebrations, can be made by calling 01437 765411.
The opening of The Riverside will be marked with a week-long programme of activities, including a Family Fun Day on Saturday 8th December.
Full details of the activities to celebrate the opening will be announced shortly.
Courses through the medium of Welsh. In order to make it viable for us to us to run courses we need a minimum number of people to take part. Our aim is to provide courses bilingually wherever possible. When you enquire about taking part in a course we will ask you if you would prefer to take part exclusively in Welsh. We will provide courses exclusively in Welsh when numbers reach the minimum level.