Maindee Library Refresh Progress 17 May

The contract with So Exclusive reached a major milestone this week: the photo below captures the moment when the first pane of glass was placed into the roof above our meeting room.

As explained in the last blog post on 11 May, our new meeting room has been created by knocking the old toilet and boiler room through into what used to be the kitchen. We think everyone will be pleased with the personality and elegance of the small spaces in our building - especially as they used to be such dingy rooms.

This blog article gives a little bit more information on the small spaces within the library and the features that we expect to offer.


Meeting Room

The new meeting room will build on the past couple of years: a space that can be hired out for activities like Citizen’s Advice; for private counselling sessions with Michelle Brown and now many other new audiences.

The architect’s sketch - above - shows the wall which joins on to the lobby and the main reading room. There will be a whiteboard on the wall and we will also have an internet-enabled TV. There are in-built cables which connect the TV to a laptop at the back of the room. This new room can be used for presentations and film screenings.

The doors will be painted a bright yellow and the area around the door will feature a translucent fluted glass which lets light through but retainsprivacy. See the image below with the frames ready to receive the glass. We are pleased that Paul Young from So Exclusive is sourcing this product from Aacme Glass - just a couple of minutes round the corner from Maindee Library on Corporation Road.

Again the intention is to make the most of the natural light which comes into the building - especially from the roof light - so that borrowed sunshine will create a pleasant environment in the lobby area by the toilets. There will be a similar light feature in the wall between the kitchen and lobby.


We had originally planned a domestic-style kitchen for the library. However, we made the decision fairly late into the project to upgrade it to something that can offer commercial catering facilities.

The kitchen is at the front of the building. With commercial catering facilities the kitchen can be used either alongside the main room for events or can function alongside the library: for example it can be rented out to people who need it for something like a popup kitchen or even to serve passing trade.

The architects designed stable doors - see image above - so that there is a shelf for people to place cups and plates. With such features within the doors people could come in off the street to order a drink or something to eat. The kitchen is designed to make many simple dishes such as cakes, biscuits, breads, quiches, soups and much more.

All surfaces in the kitchen will be commercial-grade stainless steel and there will be anti-slip flooring. The kitchen will be clean and safe for our volunteers, hirers or staff to work in and will meet prevailing food hygiene and other safety and compliance issues.

There are some other design features to make the kitchen even safer. For example we have gone beyond building regulations and decided to fire-line the walls which adjoin the neighbouring Maindee Police Station - see image below - and we are also fitting a specialised ventilation system which switches off the gas supply in the event of a fire.

We are grateful that our principal contractors - So Exclusive Interiors and Developments - have been accommodating as we make changes to the building; and also that they share the same vision for the space as we do. So Exclusive's recent experience of re-equipping the Pod as a bar and venue has certainly benefited us. And we are also pleased that so much of the money is being re-invested within the local economy of Newport.

The next blog post will show some of the finished touches to the building. All things going to plan the building will be finished at the end of May and we are now a couple of weeks away from moving back in and then reopening in early June.


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