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The Hive Celebrates Millionth Visit

The Hive - Britain's first joint University and public library - has reached yet another milestone just weeks after its first birthday.

The millionth visit to The Hive was received shortly after 12.30pm on Friday – another landmark moment for the library, which released its millionth book earlier this month.

Since opening its doors The Hive, developed, financed and jointly run by the University of Worcester and Worcestershire County Council, has also been recognised for 44 awards. 

The iconic, golden-coloured building on the banks of the River Severn is realising its creators' vision of inspiring and enabling learning in a welcoming, purposeful, sustainable space.

Book borrowing has soared since The Hive opened in July 2012. General public borrowing, not including the University, has increased. Students have loved The Hive’s space, extra facilities and long opening hours and borrowed more books than ever before, with University borrowing up nearly 10% on previous years.

The children’s library at The Hive, has proved a magnet for younger readers, parents and grandparents alike with borrowing of junior picture books up by the most of any single category – a whopping 321%. Children’s authors led by former children’s laureates Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Rosen have both visited and found The Hive and its host of children’s and young people’s activities irresistibly attractive. There are lots of opportunities for volunteering at The Hive, with The University, known for its outstanding teacher training, contributing thousands of volunteer and staff hours to promote reading and providing educational activities and advice for teenagers.

Public library membership has grown dramatically. Over 18,000 new members joined the new public library in The Hive in the first year since The Hive opened– a 500% increase on the previous year in the old Foregate Street Library. This has also lead to a surge in demand for public library services throughout Worcestershire with library usage across the rest of the County up by more than 10%. Despite reducing budgets the County Council remains committed to not closing libraries in the County.

The millionth book was borrowed by a University of Worcester student and long-time Worcestershire resident. Grandmother, Alison Barrett, studying for a degree in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, whilst working with vulnerable children, borrowed 'Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain'.

The Hive’s success, popularity and beneficial public impact are reflected in the 44 awards for which it has been shortlisted. Outright winners include Best Contribution to the Local Community by a University in The Guardian University Awards, Outstanding Library Team in the Times Higher Leadership and Management Awards and three awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), including their prestigious National Award.

There have been numerous nominations for environmental sustainability and architectural excellence, and awards for community benefit and design and innovation from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Professor David Green, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Worcester, said "The Hive is a stunning success. Britain's first University and Public Library is brilliant for our students whilst attracting and inspiring people throughout Worcestershire.

“Above all it is encouraging new generations to learn, to read and to engage with the great treasury of human knowledge, understanding and culture. It is marvellous to be part of such a triumph of human imagination and teamwork."

Cllr Adrian Hardman, Leader of Worcestershire County Council, added: "The millionth visit is a great milestone for The Hive and we would like to thank everybody who has visited and enjoyed using its facilities since it opened last year.

“We've been delighted with the wealth of support and enthusiasm from people all across the County. The Hive has been recognised internationally for its sustainable and inspiring architectural design and has helped to create a great amount of excitement and awareness of Worcestershire."