MORE than 200 people packed into Wrexham Library yesterday lunchtime to see what was occurrin’.
Gavin and Stacey star Ruth Jones was there to officially open the building after its major facelift.
The actor and writer, who uses the ‘what’s occurrin’ catchphrase in her much-loved role as Nessa in the hit BBC comedy series, was invited to perform the tape-cutting ceremony in her role as Wales’ official library champion.
With the help of a Welsh Assembly Government grant of £310,000, Wrexham Council has spent months remodelling the interior and upgrading facilities at the library.
It now features extensive lending and reference collections, free public computers, a free Wi-Fi service and self-service kiosks.
Pride of place goes to the British Film Institute (BFI) Mediatheque, a ‘jukebox’ of nearly 1,800 films and TV programmes spanning the 20th century and all available at the touch of a screen.
Ruth Jones said she was delighted to be at the opening ceremony, which was attended by scores of civic leaders and library staff.
She told them: “I like the title of library champion as I’ve never been a champion at anything before.
“A library is the secular heart of the community.
“It’s not just about borrowing books but so much more.”
Cllr Bob Dutton, Wrexham Council’s lead member for communities and performance, said the library was now the largest in Wales north of the M4 corridor.
He added: “While libraries in some parts of England are under threat, here in Wales ours are on the up and up.”
Wrexham mayor Cllr Arwel Gwynn Jones described the new-look library as a “bridge to the world’s knowledge in a friendly and convenient space”.
Roger Lawson, of the BFI, said Wrexham’s new Mediatheque was only the third outside London and – unlike the internet – was capable of showing films that were still covered by copyright.
He praised Wrexham MP Ian Lucas for suggesting a version was installed in his constituency after seeing the service demonstrated in London in 2007.
Mr Lucas himself said he was delighted to have played a part in bringing it to Wrexham Library where it would be a “wonderful thing to behold”.
Out in the library foyer hundreds of people clamoured to see Ruth Jones cut a red ribbon to declare the building open.
The ribbon was held by schoolgirls Lauren Roberts and Nia Pemberton, of Victoria Primary in Wrexham. They were the winners of the Express Yourself competition and meeting the star was their prize.