Half a million pounds has been invested into Kingston’s libraries as they buck the national trend and continue to attract more visitors.

State-of-the-art self-service machines have replaced the front desks to create a new, modern look and free up library staff to focus on promoting reading and learning, and supporting customers using the resources.

Since reopening, the seven libraries in the borough have had a 6 per cent increase in visitors.

Cllr Andy Johnson-Creek, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Libraries at Kingston Council, said: “I’m delighted with the result of this transformational investment into our libraries. It’s hugely important that we promote libraries as spaces that are for far more than books, they’re hubs of community activity and the heartbeat of our towns.

“The feedback from all seven libraries has been fantastic and there’s much more we can do now we have vibrant, flexible spaces in place across the borough. Watch this space.”

Kingston Library has undergone the biggest change, with the children’s library being incorporated into the main building. It was reopened by Mayor Councillor Julie Pickering.

She said: “The first word I said when I walked into my local library was ‘wow’. A truly staggering change and one that has respected and kept the historical elements of the buildings whilst modernising the facilities, which is absolutely how it should be.

“I’m proud to have been able to officially launch the result of the investment in libraries and look forward to seeing the service go from strength to strength.”