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Library celebrates multi-million-pound upgrade

3:05pm - 25 January 2024

A focal point of the town for more than 120 years, Motherwell Library has a bright future inspiring new generations to read, learn and now craft.

Thanks to an extensive refurbishment programme, visitors can enjoy brand new facilities including Scotland’s only public library interactive immersive pod. 

The £1.6million investment by the council has also seen the children’s area doubled, new flexible learning and meeting areas created and the opening of a new MakerSpace.   

The Letitia McKell MakerSpace is named in honour of a former resident who left money to the library in her will.

The area is designed to help people develop skills, explore their creativity and learn how to use new digital and craft resources including 3D printers, sewing machines and a laser cutter.

Born and raised in Craigneuk, Letitia McKell and husband Frank emigrated to Canada in 1945 before moving to Everett, Washington. She never forgot her Scottish roots or the area she grew up, leaving nearly £190,000 to Motherwell Library.  

Earlier this month a national appeal was launched to find relatives of Letitia. As a result, three of her nieces Winifred McCall, Jan Miller and Marlene Frame attended the official opening.  

Winifred said: “She was such a lovely, kind and fun person – I know she’d be really proud today to see the new area named after her.

“Uncle Frank and Auntie Lettie came from tough backgrounds and libraries and learning were a way of enriching their lives and improving their futures.  

“The refurbishments look incredible, and we are all very proud that her legacy will live on and benefit future generations.”

Incredibly, Letitia's father studied for his miner's fireman certificate exam in the room that is now named after his daughter.

Provost Kenneth Duffy added: "I went to school just down the road from the library and I’m delighted to see the completed works – it really does look impressive.   

“Refurbishing this historic building is part of our commitment to providing vibrant community spaces and hubs for everyone.  

“The large children’s area is bright and welcoming, with the emphasis on fun, and the Letitia McKell MakerSpace provides a state-of-the-art facility for people of all ages to be creative, learn new skills and meet others.   

“We are very grateful to the donation Letitia left, and it was a pleasure to meet her nieces and thank them for their aunt’s kindness.”  

The unique pod area within the library is a fully immersive, 360-degree environment with sound, smell and interactive elements.

In the digital hub, hi-tech resources encourage innovation and effective learning experiences and support digital skills development. Both will be available to community groups, businesses, schools and individuals.  

Renovation of the library building also included improvements to the roof, rendering, rewiring and the total redesign of the ground and first floors.  

Letitia's relatives, pupils from Ladywell Primary School, local community groups and councillors marked the official opening of the newly refurbished areas at the library on Thursday 25 January.  

Page last updated:
26 Jan 2024

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