Book it in – official opening of striking new library

An array of fun family activities will mark the official opening of Calderdale’s impressive new Central Library and Archives on Saturday 9 September.

This will come after an exciting first week for the bright, modern facility, which opens to the public on Tuesday 5 September in its new home next to The Piece Hall and Square Chapel in Halifax’s vibrant cultural, heritage and learning quarter.

Leading architectural historian, writer and TV broadcaster, Dr Jonathan Foyle will officially open the stunning building – which includes Halifax Visitor Information Centre – in the presence of the Mayor of Calderdale, Cllr Ferman Ali.

Dr Foyle writes regularly for newspapers and magazines; has appeared in and presented many TV programmes, including the popular series ‘Climbing Great Buildings’; and has written six books and many other publications – a number of these will be on display for visitors.

At about 3.15pm Dr Foyle will officially open the library and unveil a plaque. He will talk about the importance of preserving historical buildings in the context of the architectural achievement of the new Central Library and Archives and the link to the transformed Piece Hall. He will also highlight the significance of libraries and archives for current and future generations.

Cllr Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader, said:

“We’re really looking forward to welcoming people to this fantastic new community facility next week. The Council made the decision to build a new library as part of a comprehensive regeneration programme which will bring huge benefits for local people, businesses and visitors.


“The state-of-the-art library facilities, alongside other remarkable developments like the transformation of the Piece Hall and Square Chapel, the reopening of Calderdale Industrial Museum and the planned improvements to transport, will provide a real boost for Calderdale.


“We continue to believe in the importance of libraries as places for reading, learning and culture, promoting skills and wellbeing in the heart of our communities. The new central library is at the heart of that commitment. We hope that local families will come along and celebrate with us on Saturday 9 September.”

The activities taking place on Saturday 9 September include:

  • Fun, interactive children’s sessions featuring poetry, songs and ukuleles, run by performance poet Paul Cookson. Book your free place at 10am or 11.15am at link), or come along to the drop-in session at 1pm. Paul has been writing and performing poetry since 1989 and is currently the official Poet In Residence for the National Football Museum in Manchester, as well as Poet Laureate for the band Slade.
  • Social media poetry sessions for teenagers and adults, run by Calder Valley poet, performer and all-round wordsmith Winston Plowes, at 10am and 12pm. Following Winston’s successful Texperiments Facebook campaign in summer 2016 – which resulted in beautiful and strange poetry ‘collages’ from the different combinations of lines of verse – he will launch a special, one-off round of ‘cutups’ showcasing the new Central Library technology in the first floor media store.
  • Access to the artwork, creative writing, music and film produced by local people as part of the ‘We All Have a Story to Tell’ project funded by Arts Council England. The three-year project was about recognising Calderdale’s many local stories through the arts. The team of library ambassadors will share the stories of Halifax at the new Central Library and Archives every Wednesday morning.
  • Welcome speeches from around 3.05pm to 3.30pm, to mark the official opening of the new Central Library and Archives.
  • A special tribute to Branwell Brontë to mark his bicentenary. The library closes at 4pm, but the celebrations continue at 6.30pm with a special performance of Calder Valley poet Simon Zonenblick’s ‘Exploring the Brontës’ – a two-person show focusing on the life and poetry of Branwell Brontë through poems, drama and music. Book your tickets at link) or by calling 01422 392630 from Tuesday 5 September.

Visitors will be able to admire the Square Church rose window and enjoy upward views of the conserved spire from the staircase. They can also explore the excellent new facilities, including the colourful children’s library, state-of-the-art media store and teen area, West Yorkshire Archives and the new Halifax Visitor Information Centre.

The new Central Library and Archives has been wholly funded by Calderdale Council. To find out more about the new facility visit the New Central Library and Archives page on the Council’s website and follow Calderdale Libraries on Twitter @CMBClibraries.