New chapter in a 20-year struggle

ALMOST THERE: The Byron Bay Friends of the Library are excited by the progress on the new Byron Bay Library, which is scheduled to open its doors in December. Pictured (from left) are Prue Regan, Bete Hart, Bob Levett, Ruth Menzies and Jay Pearse.
ALMOST THERE: The Byron Bay Friends of the Library are excited by the progress on the new Byron Bay Library, which is scheduled to open its doors in December. Pictured (from left) are Prue Regan, Bete Hart, Bob Levett, Ruth Menzies and Jay Pearse. Kate Oneill

IT'S been a 20-year battle, but a small group of dedicated and determined people will get the best Christmas present ever when the new $3.75 million Byron Bay Library opens in mid-December.

The Friends of the Library group has been battling for two decades to get a new library built and has raised $87,000 - money which will be used to help fit out the new library, including $10,000 towards the cost of new book stock.

President Bob Levett said the new library was "looking great."

"We are very pleased with it, thrilled in fact," he said.

"The group has been waiting a long time for this and unfortunately some of the original members are now dead and won't see their hard work and dreams come to reality.

"We hope to have our first meeting in the new library on November 21."

Construction of the new library, which is located on the corner of Lawson and Middleton Sts, started in September 2011and is now close to completion.

The shelves are going in, the furniture has arrived and the final wiring is taking place.

Byron Shire Council projects co-ordinator Col Sims said the library was progressing well and the last couple of weeks had seen the arrival of bookshelves, desks and chairs. "It's still busy on-site with the construction, but it's definitely starting to take on the look and feel of a library," he said.

"Work has started on the outdoor areas and carpark, and we just need a couple of months of sunny weather to be able to hand over the new community building to the library staff."

Weather permitting, the task of moving all the books from the old library is expected to take place in late November.

Richmond Tweed Regional Library manager Jo Carmody said there were more than 30,000 books to relocate to the new building, which has a five-star green environmental rating.

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