Cardiff Central Library (Welsh: Llyfrgell Ganolog Caerdydd) is the main library in the city centre of Cardiff, Wales. Four buildings have been named as such, with the newest building opening on 14 March 2009 and officially being opened a few months later on 18 June 2009 by the Manic Street Preachers.
The new Central Library building was opened on 14 March 2009, and is located on the Hayes opposite the St. David’s 2 development.
The building cost £13.5 million to build and construction took 98 weeks involving nearly 1,200 workers. 2000m² of glass form part of the exterior walls. The length of shelving for the books totals 3 kilometres.
The library contains 55,000 ft of space, 90,000 books, 10,000 of which are written in Welsh, and an additional 10,000 CDs and DVDs.
The building is located on the corner of The Hayes and Mill Street, occupying part of the car park used by the adjacent Marriott Hotel, and it was this siting which gave rise to the building’s triangular footprint.
The building was specifically designed to be energy-efficient, and includes a sedum grass roof to improve insulation and reduce rainwater run-off, coloured glass panels and solar shading to prevent excessive heat gains, and a full Building Management System to provide climate control to individual floors. As a result of these measures the building was awarded a BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’.
There are a total of six floors with part of the ground floor housing three retail outlets; these are currently occupied by branches of Wagamama, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Strada.
Each floor has public computers. Additionally, all floors except the ground floor have toilets and Wi-Fi. Lifts link all floors. Stairs also connect each floor, with an escalator running straight from the ground to the second floor.
The ground floor contains a reception, drop-off point for book returns and customer service centre for Cardiff County Council, known as Connect to Cardiff. This floor also has a Quick Pick section, containing popularly requested titles, and a pick up point for reserved books.
The first floor contains the children’s library.
The second floor contains fiction, biographies, newspapers, large print and audio publications, and community language publications. A meeting room and display area are also located here.
The third floor contains non-fiction, art, history, language, literature and music books. This floor also contains a grand piano which members of the public may play.
The fourth floor houses non-fiction, humanities & sciences, law, transport, travel and food books, as well as a reference section. Local leaflets and information, including transport and tourist attractions are available on this floor. In addition to the second floor, the fourth floor also contains a meeting room.
The fifth floor is used for the Cardiff Capital Collection with books on the history of Cardiff, the Wales Collection with books on the history of Wales, and Welsh-language publications. Also on this floor are an ICT suite and display suite.
Rare Books Sale Controversy
To help fund the new Library, Cardiff Council decided to sell off the library’s heritage book collection, dating back the 15th century. This provoked outrage amongst academics worldwide. Currently Cardiff University are negotiating with the council to retain the collections in Cardiff.