Work has begun to transform all of Kingston’s seven libraries as part of a £500,000 upgrade to install self-service technology and create “flexible community spaces”.

Improvement works have almost finished on Kingston Library, which is set to reopen on Monday, February 27.

Self-service machines will replace the front desk at all seven libraries, which the council said will free up staff to promote “reading, listening and discovery” services.

Councillor Andrea Craig, Cabinet Member for heritage, arts and leisure at Kingston Council, said: “This is a hugely exciting project for the borough and the benefits of this investment will be felt for years to come.

“We know that our residents are keen library users, so enhancing these key community spaces is essential. I hope that even more residents and visitors take the opportunity to discover all that is on offer in our newly-transformed libraries.”

In 2015 to 2016, the borough’s libraries welcomed 550,000 visitors, while online transactions rose to 110,000.

Opposition Liberal Democrats criticised spending £500,000 on new library facilities given the cuts to other services.

The remaining six libraries will close for improvement works on:

  • Tolworth Library - Contractors move in on Monday, February 13 and the library will reopen on Tuesday, February 28 (alternative libraries: Surbiton and Hook)
  • Old Malden Library - The works start on Monday, February 27 and the library will reopen on Monday, March 13 (alternative library: New Malden)
  • Hook Library - The contractors move in on Monday, March 6 and the library will reopen on Tuesday, March 28 (alternative libraries: Tolworth and Surbiton)
  • New Malden Library - Works begin on Monday, March 20 and the library will reopen on Monday, April 3 (alternative libraries: Old Malden and Kingston)
  • Surbiton Library - The contractors move in on Monday, 27 March and will reopen on Monday, April 10 (alternative libraries: Kingston and Tolworth)
  • Tudor Drive Library - The contractors move in to Tudor Drive Library on Monday, April 3 and will reopen on Tuesday, May 2 (alternative library: Kingston Library)