A buzz around The Hive
Another day, another tour, but this time I went to Worcester to see the fantastic new library- The Hive. Now I have heard plenty of good things about this place, but have never actually had the chance to see it for myself…until now! Upon first glance, the architecture of the new building really stands out. I was overwhelmed at first, as it veered up at me as I walked around the corner. I was overwhelmed in a good way of course!
Worcestershire County Council and the University of Worcester have worked together to create a new city centre library, history and customer centre for students and also the public. Both the old Public Library and the University Library were outgrowing their premises, and modernisation was needed. After 9 years of planning what has been created is this new combined facility for the whole community to use, drawing people together. The Hive was opened to the public in July of this year, and the students will be coming to Worcester University very soon, so it will be great to see what they make of it!
As soon as I walked through the doors into the atrium, I emerged into a beautiful open space with high pine ceilings and ash panelling surrounding the stairs and levels. The Hive prides itself on sustainability and the entrance floor is made of Forest of Dean stone. A lovely lady approached me when I entered and was able to direct me straight to the room I needed to go to for the beginning of the tour.
As I walked up to the second floor I noticed how accessible the whole building is, all the facilities were easy to find, the floors are spacious and there are lifts to every floor. I later found out that The Hive worked alongside an access group to help plan accessibility. Good work! Also, I noticed that there is excellent noise management- for such an open building, the noise levels decrease further up, as downstairs there is a space for children and families.
When I found the room for the tour I was greeted with huge cupcakes! The day just got better and better :). As I finishing stuffing my face with tasty chocolate goodness, I was taken around the levels of The Hive. We began on the very bottom floor which is a social study area and an area for young people. It has games and also films and music. And when I say games, it actually has consoles with big screens so gaming can take place actually in the library! What a fantastic idea for widening participation and social inclusion.
The next floor has a cafe (locally sourced food), shop and a large children and families area. The children and families area is amazing, they even have this room called ‘The Oasis’ which is almost like a sensory room that is fantastic for little ones. There is a ‘Story Pit,’ activity area, children’s library and even these cute themed self-service machines that children can use.
We were also shown The Studio which is a great multi-purpose space. At the moment it is being used for an archaeology exhibition that details the history of the site the building is on (they found lots of archaeological goodies on site, which are shown in display cases around the library!).
At the far back is the Worcestershire Hub which allows the public to access council services- a great idea to aid people.
The second floor is quite possibly my favourite floor…’Explore the Past.’ I wonder why? Could it be the great wealth of archives and archaeology? Yes! A fantastic resource which I later made use of by accessing the archaeology room at the back where Oliver Russell, the Historic Environment Record Manager, helped me to find lots of Anglo-Saxon resources. Thank you Oliver!
The second floor also has a Business Centre and lots of meeting rooms, which make it a great place for people who are trying to find somewhere to hold a meeting. It is a great professional space to use.
The third floor is the main library space with plenty of books (due to the merge of the main Public Library and the University Library collections). The fourth floor we tiptoed around, as it is the Research, Quiet Study space. There are also special collections and journals housed there.
We then made our way back to the meeting room for a presentation on the history of The Hive given by David Pearson who is involved in managing collections and also a presentation on the partnership with Capita who were involved with the construction of the successful Library Management System used at The Hive, give by Karen Reece, Head of Sales.
Both presentations were fascinating and showed that both groups had a real focus on the public and communication. It was great to see how all the pieces of the puzzle came together and helped to build such a fantastic building, amazing resources, and a brilliant library system. The Hive is well worth a visit, and I shall definitely be coming back soon. Thank you to everyone who organised and led the tour!