New library at the heart of Southam

Evie and Esme with robot NAO at the launch of Southam's new library. Picture by Dave Warren.

Evie and Esme with robot NAO at the launch of Southam's new library. Picture by Dave Warren.

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A robot dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller was among the entertainment on offer at the launch of Southam’s brand new library.

NAO, the humanoid robot, encouraged onlookers to join their new library before performing its dance routine at the event last Friday.

A day of activities was organised by Warwickshire County Council’s library service to celebrate the new facility in the town centre.

Attorney General and Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright, who was at the launch, said: “This is a huge achievement and this building will become, and already is, at the heart of the community for everyone – from the very youngest to the very oldest.”

The purpose-built facility at Tithe Place, which stands on the site of the town’s original library, has seen a steep rise in visitors and items issued since it moved from its temporary base.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, leader of Warwickshire County Council, said at the launch: “Southam has an incredibly strong community spirit, without which none of this would be possible, and that is why I am particularly proud to see Southam library return to the heart of the community – exactly where it belongs.”

The site also includes an Orbit Homes scheme of 75 apartments for over-55s, including two private gardens, lounge and games room, alongside a neighbourhood police office and restaurant.

A range of activities took part on the library launch day, including Story Stomp for pre-school children and an e-book surgery to help adults download library books and services.

Harry Jenkins, Warwickshire’s new Young Poet Laureate, also recited some poetry at the event. He said: “I am really grateful to the library service for the support and encouragement they have given me to perform poetry around the county.”

Children were taken on tours of the children’s library by NOA the robot, who is one of the humanoid robots used by the county council’s ICT Development Service in schools to increase student engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects. To see a video of NAO dancing to Thriller, visit