Central library could be moved to new home, under new proposals

Rotherham's central library could move out of its current home in Riverside House under £7 million proposals which would see an overhaul of facilities in branches across the borough.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 12:00 pm

At the same time, fines for overdue books would be scrapped as an incentive to encourage people to borrow more books.

Rotherham Council wants to improve its digital access for library users, with new public computers, up to date IT equipment and new information screens at each of its 15 branches.

Coun Sarah Allen, responsible for Cleaner, Greener Communities in the Cabinet, said: “Libraries are a much loved part of our communities.

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Riverside House, which currently houses Rotherham's central library

"We know how much people value them. But under the Tories, nearly 800 libraries have closed since 2010.

"We want things to be different in Rotherham. Instead of closing them down, we want our libraries to be living, vibrant parts of our communities, providing important public spaces.

"More than 20,000 people borrowed books from our libraries last year and more visited for other reasons.

"We want to see that number continue to rise, and everyone to be served by high quality, modern facilities. That is why we are proposing this investment, to secure our libraries for years to come.”

The biggest single change would be finding a new home for the existing library, which currently occupies part of the same building as the authority's main offices in Main Street.

If they are to proceed, the plans would need approval from the council's ruling Cabinet, which will make a decision later this month. Public consultations would then have to take place before final plans could be approved.

The new town centre would be ready within four years, it is anticipated.

For that to succeed, it would need a council bid for cash from the Government's Future High Streets fund to succeed.

A site near the markets complex has already been earmarked for the new building.

Branches at Thurcroft and Swinton could also be relocated into new premises.

This has already happened in Brinsworth, where a new branch is due to open shortly.