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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 13 February 2006

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Good citizens honoured

2 OF Warrington's most charitable men were honoured in a special ceremony last week.  The Mayor of Warrington Cllr Hand Mundry presented a 'Good Citizen Award' to Leonard Rowland and posthumously to his brother Herbert Rowland in
recognition of their voluntary work in the community and throughout the country.

Their service spanned 94 years between them, which involved voluntary work for hospitals, charities, societies and local groups.

Cllr Mundry said:- "The achievements made by Leonard and Daniel are truly outstanding and I would like to thank them for everything they have done.  They are both well revered and well loved in Warrington, and further afield and we are all grateful for what they have done for the town. They have  touched so many lives through their work and it is a privilege to honour them in this way."

Setting the standards

A SCHEME developed by the Council on accessible transport could soon become a national standard.  Devon County Council has recommended to the Department For Transport that the Warrington Travel Wallet Scheme be used as a National Standard for Public Transport Travel.

The Travel Wallet, developed in conjunction with local disability groups, provides help for people with special needs while travelling on public transport. The fluorescent wallet originally developed to help people using low floor buses has now become multi-functional. It uses, amongst other features, the latest communication technology to activate a voice announcement system at bus stops equipped with Real Time Information.

The Travel Wallet and other associated features has already been used by the European Commission in a good practice guide published last year on transport for people with special needs.  Initial reports from Department for Transport have been very positive towards the proposals.

Cllr Jeff Richards, Executive Board Member for Sustainable Environment, said:- "It is always excellent to have work recognised and promote Council achievements, especially as we are a smaller authority. To have our work on this scheme put forward as an example of a national standard reflects the amount of hard work and dedication put in by the Passenger Transport Team and Members of the Council, towards their aims of providing services that are of benefit. There is still a long way to go in the creation of a fully accessible public transport system but I am delighted that this scheme has been a success."

Learn to dive the BSAC way with OSAC

Central Library will be 1 in a million

MORE than 1 million books will be showcased when the redevelopment of Liverpool's Central Library is complete.   The city council is set to ask the government to approve plans to spend almost £50 million transforming the Victorian building into a 21st century library.

The scheme will see the radical remodelling of the Central Library, which will double the amount of space for displaying books for reading, studying and leisure. Around 300,000 books will be on show at any one time, taken from a pool of one million which will be frequently rotated.  The new look library will also include a stunning new entrance, an archive centre and space for 250 public computers.

Council leader Warren Bradley, said:- "The Central Library is one of the oldest and best used public libraries in Britain, with well over half a million visitors every year.  This project will enable us to transform it into one of the best libraries in the country while at the same time ensuring it's preserved for future generations.  It will just be one part of the fantastic legacy for the city after Capital of Culture 2008, and a first class facility where people both young and old can come and learn."

On Friday, February 17, the Executive Board will be asked to approve the submission of an Outline Business Case to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to secure £47.9 million of Private Finance Initiative (PFI) credits.

The Picton, Hornby and Oak reading rooms will be restored to their former glory, and more of Liverpool's fabulous rare book and archive collection will be put on display.

Joyce Little, the city's Head of Libraries and Information Services, said:- ''The current building is magnificent but is in urgent need of restoration. Developments over the last century have left a building that is confusing to find your way around and has inadequate visitor facilities.  The new Central Library will make the reading experience exciting and stimulating, incorporating the best practice from other public library developments and the retail book trade in its design and layout."

Once completed, the Central Library will become one of the key buildings in the city's World Heritage site, with customer numbers expected to rise from 600,000 to over 1 million a year.

A Europe-wide search for a partner to carry out the work is expected to start in April, with a preferred bidder being selected by the end of the year.  It is anticipated the building will be closed for 2 years while construction work takes place.  Alternative sites for storage of the extensive collections along with library provision in the city centre will be incorporated into the project plan.

The new Central Library will include:-

* An impressive but welcoming entrance clearly visible from surrounding areas

* A new children's interactive zone and library

* A showcase for over a million books

* New exhibition areas for rare books and archives

* Flexible learning, teaching and performance spaces

* A high speed gateway for electronic information and services

* Scope to explore Liverpool's unique history

* High quality visitor facilities

* Archive and special collection storage which meets national standards

* Opening up heritage areas for public access

* Visitor centre with coffee bar

* New staff areas

* High quality design

DID YOU KNOW?

* The Central Library collection includes letters from Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Disraeli, Gladstone, Florence Nightingale and George Stephenson

* The foundation stone for Central Library was laid in 1852 and it was one of the first in the country

* Former staff include writer Ramsey Campbell and former Coronation Street star Jean Alexander (Hilda Ogden)

* People of every age use Central Library - with members as young as 7 months and as old as 101 years!

* Almost half of Liverpool's libraries have been refurbished or replaced in the last 5 years

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