THOUSANDS of visitors are continuing to flock to the new Ashton Library with hundreds also joining as new members.
Around 6,000 people visited the state-of-the-art library in its opening week – double the visitor numbers of the old Tameside Central Library.
Latest figures show that in the library's first month since opening on March 4 it welcomed more than 22,000 visitors and leant more than 10,000 items.
The facility inside Tameside One, Market Place, has also attracted new members with more than 500 people signing up in March to loan books and make use of the many resources.
Its popularity has continued into April with visitor numbers consistently over 5,000 a week and another 273 people joining in the first two weeks of the month.
Ashton Library is also a hit with groups who are making the most of the facilities. They include Story Makers sessions, Time for a Rhyme, Readers' Group and chess and scrabble clubs.
Time for a Rhyme is for babies and children up to four years old where they join parents and carers in learning rhymes and songs together in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
Michaela Tucker, from Ashton, attends with her son Caleb. She said: "I think the sessions are really good. Songs are easy for babies to pay attention to. Caleb loves it and it's good for them to be sociable.
"The new library is lovely. It's a lot nicer and really bright."
Elaine Heap, from Ashton, takes along her great niece Lyla. She said: "We enjoy coming as it's very friendly and everyone can come and join in. You don't have to book, it's free and you can meet other people and all the mums and dads.
"The new library is more accessible and open and the staff are very friendly. Libraries are great as anyone can come to them."
The library sits adjacent to the old Water Board building façade, which has been retained to combine old with new in a light, airy and visually striking space.
It offers children's facilities and access to 2.8million books from across Greater Manchester and thousands of digital publications. There are around 36,000 physical items to borrow plus 2,000 items for reference.
Tameside One also features a Joint Public Service Centre – headquarters for both Tameside Council and Tameside and Glossop CCG – including customer services and welfare rights, Citizens Advice, Cash Box Credit Union and Jobcentre Plus.
And it's home to Tameside College's Advanced Skills Centre, providing students with one of the best learning resources in Greater Manchester in specialist subjects including hospitality and catering, bakery, travel and tourism, hair and beauty and business.
Wilko's new retail space will open at Tameside One later in the year.
To find out more about library events visit www.tameside.gov.uk/libraries. You can also get involved in the Tameside Loves Reading campaign, a three year programme of projects and activities in schools, libraries and the community to help improve reading and literacy skills, by visiting www.tameside.gov.uk/tamesidelovesreading