A NEW state-of-the-art library will give users extended "out-of-hours" access.

Trafford Council expect to open the new library, on the site of the former Altrincham General Hospital in Market Street, before Christmas.

The library will be staffed from 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 4pm on Saturday.

But people will still be able to enter the building after staff leave.

From 5pm to 9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday, the library will remain open to the public, but without the supervision of staff.

The development was handed over to NHS Property Services last week and will house the new library when the Stamford New Road branch closes next year.

The new library will offer an Open + system which will allow people to access the library without staff being present.

The system was adopted by Woodsend Library in Urmston in 2015, and the Council deemed it a success.

"Staffless" libraries were introduced in Scandinavia more than 10 years ago, and Trafford Council were one of the first local authorities in the UK to embrace the concept.

Under the new system, customers gain entry to the library via a keypad using their library card and PIN.

The technology enables customers to use the library every evening 24 hours a day, seven day a week.

Customers can borrow, return and renew books via the self-service kiosks, use computers, printers and photocopiers and hold community meetings without the assistance or presence of staff.

Kevin Procter, executive member of Trafford Council, said: “The new library is fantastic news for everyone in Altrincham.

"It is central to the development of the former Altrincham General site and will sit beautifully in the town centre.

“We are very proud of the fact that we are investing in a new library when local authorities across the country are closing them down.

"We, as a Council, are passionate about our libraries and believe they are vital to the community. "I look forward to the library opening. It will serve thousands of families and individuals across the borough and is sure to be a success.”

A 13ft high sculpture in front of the library - The 'Eudaemonium' – has already been built outside the library.

The wooden and bronze sculpture contains a cupboard complete with bookshelves and artwork.

Staff will be available at the following times:

Monday          10am-5pm 

Tuesday         10am-5pm

Wednesday   10am-7pm

Thursday       10am-5pm

Friday             10am-5pm

Saturday        10am-4pm

Staffless hours:

Monday – Friday 5pm – 9pm

Sunday 10am - 4pm