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First visitors welcomed into The Hive

Europe's first joint public and university library opened to the public today in Worcester.

The Hive, a joint project between Worcestershire County Council and the University of Worcester, opened with a specially commissioned fanfare performed by students from the Elgar School of Music entitled 'The Open Book'. The piece was composed especially for the occasion by John Swindells, a teacher from the school.

Doors opened at 9am and the first 50 visitors through the doors were offered a complimentary hot drink in The Hive's cafe. Nicola Tobin, a Worcester resident said: "This building is fabulous; I will definitely be here regularly to use the free computer access and also bring my little one to the Baby Bounce and Rhyme group in the library."

The Hive, which will be open from 8:30am to 10pm seven days a week (excluding bank holidays), is home to the Archive and Archaeology Service, the Worcestershire Hub and hosts both the public and university library collections. There are five levels to explore, discover and enjoy with over 250,000 books on offer. The children's library has spaces for all ages including a story pit, window seats and an outdoor reading area.

The Hive also has 12 miles of original historic documents housed in strongrooms underneath the main building. Georgina Glover, travelled from Leicester this morning to be part of this iconic opening and said: "I had to come and see this integrated service; the combination of archive and archaeological resources is quite unique. I have travelled to many places for my research including Northampton and Bedfordshire and the quality of service and resources here in one place is outstanding."

Worcestershire residents will also benefit from an accessible customer service centre - the Worcestershire Hub - where they can access a range of District and County Council services such as revenues and benefits, housing and homelessness, social care, planning and building control, to name a few. Upgraded technology at The Hive offers customers a wider variety of self-service options online.

The Hive also boasts a cafe and shop, business centre and multi-functional conference rooms for hire.

Laura Worsfold, Business Development Manager for The Hive, said: "It is wonderful to see The Hive open for business and to see people in the building at last, making it come alive. The expressions on people's faces as they walked around and hearing people's positive reactions is what we have all been waiting for. The staff have worked extremely hard over the past few months and we are looking forward to ensuring that the vision and aspirations for The Hive to become a leading community and cultural institution is realised, with the commitment of the staff and the support and enthusiasm of the people who use it.