New central library to be opened in Plymouth city centre

Plymouth City councillors are set to approve funding for a new flagship library in the heart of the city centre.

The new central library in Mayflower Street would replace the current library in North Hill, making way for the £25 million History Centre which is due to open in 2020.

The Council’s ambition is to create a modern, flexible and welcoming library that will attract more users and it is asking Plymouth residents to give their views on what they would like to see in it.

As well as making way for the new History Centre the new library will deliver a key ambition in the Council’s plan for modernising its library service, which follows an extensive review that listened to customer views and looked at best practice around the country.

The new £1.4 million library which is due to open in Spring 2016, will be easier for many users to get to and will be fully accessible for people with disabilities.

Deputy Leader Councillor Peter Smith said “This is an exciting opportunity to create a new central library fit for the 21st century. We want to provide a library service that offers facilities and services that people now expect and to create an open, bright, friendly and welcoming environment with opportunities to access wider services.

“The way people use libraries is changing, with physical visits falling and virtual visits increasing. We know that if we are to protect this important resource for everyone we need to respond to what users want.

“The new location will encourage more people of all ages to drop in to borrow books, use free computers, access free Wi-Fi, study, meet with friends or research their family history.

“Not only will the new library be a fantastic resource for Plymouth but it will also help breathe new life into an area of the city centre that has long awaited investment. It will complement the new coach hub that we are opening nearby, which will also help attract more visitors to this part of the city centre.”

The Council will be asking users to help them co-design the new central lending library from next month (April). People will be encouraged to give their views on what facilities they would like to see in the new library, how they would like to use it and how they would like the space inside the building to be arranged.

The popular local studies library collection will move with the lending library to its new home on Mayflower Street until 2020 when it will join the city’s other treasured collections and archive material in the History Centre, taking its place as an important resource for people to use as they explore the story of Plymouth’s past.

Some of the central library’s back office functions will also be relocated, the details of which are still being finalised.