Cabinet to consider new home for Gloucester Library
At its meeting on 21 September cabinet will vote on whether to take up a 25-year lease with University of Gloucestershire, leaving behind their old building and embracing a new and purpose-built facility.
The current building, which has been home to the library since 1900, is in a declining condition requiring significant investment to improve access and bring the library up to a modern and more appealing standard.
By moving to new facilities this will greatly improve the library offer, significantly improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon and ongoing heating costs. There is also the potential to link services up with the university and other partners using a model that has been successful in other counties.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to improve our offer for library users in Gloucester. By linking up with the University of Gloucestershire and locating ourselves in the centre of the city, we will greatly improve our facilities, our appeal to users and support the economy by relocating our innovation lab. It’s fantastic to see that the potential move would also significantly reduce our carbon emissions – helping us reach our ambitious climate targets.”
It is expected that by moving to a more central location this will assist with footfall which has been decreasing over time. If agreed, the move could happen at the beginning of 2024 when the first phase of the refurbishment works have been completed. The current library would remain fully operational until then.
University of Gloucestershire Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Marston, said: “We are very pleased to have got to the stage of Cabinet decision. When the University first bought the Debenhams building, it was part of the original vision that we could work with local partners to use the building for a range of community services as well as teaching.
“We have agreed with NHS partners a new arts, health and wellbeing centre, and we are very much looking forward to delivering a great new public library for the City in partnership with the County Council.”
Once a decision has been made by cabinet the county council will start an engagement exercise so that interested parties can provide views on the proposal. Further information will follow on this when it becomes available.