Work to create a new Central Library in the heart of Plymouth’s city centre is now under way.
Vacant retail and bank units on the corner of Armada Way and Mayflower Street are being converted to create a more modern, flexible and welcoming library that will replace the one in Drake Circus.
As well as helping to make way for the £32 million History Centre (due to open in 2020), the move is a major step forward in our ambition to modernise its library service, following an extensive review that listened to customers’ views and looked at best practice around the country.
Features at the new library have been designed in partnership with library service users, customers and community and voluntary sector groups.
As well as books, DVDs, free computer access and Wi-Fi, the new library will have meeting rooms, comfortable seating areas, a digital and training suite, study spaces, kiosk style café and a roof terrace with views over the city.
The new library will be easier for many users to get to and will be fully accessible for people with disabilities. Together will the new Mayflower Coach Station it will also help regenerate that part of the city centre.
Work to merge the three units into one began in early October and internal walls have now been demolished. The refurbishment of the building will get under way next week and run until early March, when the final fit-out will take place.
Councillor Jon Taylor, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Transformation, visited the new library to see how work was progressing. He said: “It’s really exciting to see the plans for the new library coming to life and start to visualise how the library is going to look.
“This is an opportunity to create a Central Library that is fit for the 21st century and better meets the needs of our customers. It will offer an open, bright, friendly and welcoming environment that will hopefully encourage more people through the doors and into this part of the city centre.
“We asked people to get involved and tell us what they want to see in their new library and, as usual, we received lots of creative suggestions which are helping to shape the project.
“Customers will still be able to borrow books and DVDs, use our free computers and Wi-Fi, study, meet with friends or research their family history – and with our new opening hours, they can call in three evenings a week.”