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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!

The Hive The Hive

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.

Choccie cupcake, you know you want one!

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.

 View inside The Hive

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!

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6 thoughts on “A buzz around The Hive

  1. Thanks for the lovely write up – nice photos too! Gald you enjoyed your time at The Hive. Many thanks.

  2. Doesn’t sound like the Hive I visited. In my attempt to use the archive I was often disturbed by the noise of people from the floor below and walking up and down the stairs, especially when children ran up and down. It also didn’t help when people kept bothering the Archives reception desk with queries that had nothing to do with the archive, but because there is no reception desk downstairs and no one assisted them at the entrance, they were left to wander about until they saw a clear point of assistance. When I arrived for the first time no one offered any help and there was no visible person to consult. After interpreting the bizarrely titled ‘explore the past’, I found the archives on the 1st floor. The staff were great, but they were clearly overworked as they were understaffed. The original documents area was overcrowded because there is a large hole in the floor, the purpose of which seems to be enabling sound to rise from below. I think it is supposed to be an interesting architectural feature, but all it does is take up valuable space that could have been filled with tables. I guess that when the management knows you are coming and a tour has been arranged they will take of you, but as a mere citizen of Worcester who’s tax money paid for this I cannot expect the same service. I love the building, but await an improvement in the service offered, otherwise what was the point of this expensive venture? Unless of course the rumours that this venture was undertaken because the HE college wanted this facility, but did not want to pay for it, and the County Council are afraid to refuse them and were easily misled into believing this is what the county needs, are true?

    • Hi Paul, I’m sorry that your experience was not as good as mine, and first impressions are really important when visiting a new place such as The Hive. You really should contact the library directly to voice these views, as the staff continually expressed their belief in the importance of the feedback from their visitors and what the public feel about the place. Your views count, so definitely make them heard if you have not done so already. I don’t know whether your visit came before or after mine, but hopefully they have made changes since your last visit? Time will soon tell, as I am keen to visit again soon, so perhaps my second visit will be different? Thank you for your comments!

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