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Booking their place at The Word

Thousands of books will begin a new chapter as they are moved into The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, next week.

The process of moving stock from the old Central Library in South Shields into the stunning new cultural venue will start on Monday with the Local and Family History section.

This means the section will be unavailable until the official opening of The Word on October 22. Resources will still be available online, however.

The new department will include a loanable reference collection; an improved images website; newspaper archives; shipping registers and a photographic collection.

There will also be an enhanced digital offer, with websites including Ancestry, Find My Past and the British Newspaper Archive free to use in the library.

Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: "The local and family history section is such a popular part of the library.

"We get enquiries from as far away as New Zealand from people trying to trace their family tree, or perhaps track down photos from old newspaper archives.

"The Word is going to have a much-enhanced, dedicated space for local and family history, with more materials than we have ever had before, including a collection that people can take home rather than just reference materials."

There will be around 70,000 books on offer in The Word, across all three floors.

The Word is the centrepiece of the first phase of the £100m South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan being delivered by South Tyneside Council and its partner Muse Developments.

The cultural centre, which incorporates library and digital media space, will boast an impressive range of facilities including a computer gaming area, a FabLab with 3D printers and vinyl and laser cutters, digitised archives, meeting rooms, children's immersive storytelling area, OpenZone IT suite, café and a rooftop restaurant providing stunning views over the river.

A spectacular exhibition about world-famous film director Sir Ridley Scott will launch the venue. The fascinating display will showcase six of his most well-known movies: Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, Robin Hood, Thelma and Louise and The Martian.

A seven-feet-high alien is just one of the iconic props that have been commissioned by South Tyneside Council for the exhibition, which will also feature interactive experiences, kids' activities, movie trivia and a dedicated mobile app.

The exhibition, which is sponsored by Port of Tyne, will be launched on October 22, when The Word officially opens to the public.

The Word

For more information on the latest events and exhibitions, opening times and directions, please visit The Word website. The Word is also available to follow on Facebook and Twitter.

The Word, 45 Market Place, South Shields, NE33 1JF

The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, South Shields

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