News Wednesday, January 4th

Open Book: Hereford Library to reopen after 15 months of closure

News Wednesday, January 4th

Open Book: Hereford Library to reopen after 15 months of closure

Following 15 months of closure, Herefordshire's main library will reopen on Tuesday, January 31.

The doors of Hereford Library and Museum on Broad Street were locked in September 2015 thanks to trace levels asbestos.

At the time, Herefordshire's entire library network was under threat as Herefordshire Council planned to shut libraries in Leominster, Ross-on-Wye and Belmont, and cut staff and opening hours in Bromyard, Kington and Ledbury.

Regardless of how badly the Broad Street building needed refurbishment, such sudden closure left the city - one bidding to be City of Culture 2020 - without a public library.

Books were made available at Hereford Town Hall, but the picture wasn't pretty and public outcry was tepid. No Cardiff-style street marches here.

The library closure plans have since been dropped, and when Hereford Library reopens on January 31 there'll be a redesigned ground floor, new meeting rooms and accessible loos.

WISH (Wellbeing Information and Signposting for Herefordshire) will start working out of the main library and, from February, cultural health organisation Brightstipe will run arts, craft and performance activities on site.

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Buliding work inside Hereford Library, October 2016. Photo: Herefordshire Council.

Herefordshire Council has agreed to spend up to £500k on building work to keep the current library open.

Phase 1 is now complete, with more work expected over the coming months.

Campaigners, meanwhile, will continue to call for a complete overhaul of the Broad Street site, having invested time, energy and enthusiam into their plans for The Rankin Centre. Hereford Library Users Group have already made that clear noting when the plans were approved how they "in no sense reduce the pressing need for extensive expansion and modernisation".

You can follow Hereford Library updates on Twitter @HerefordLibrary and facebook.com/herefordshirelibraries.

The temporary library at Hereford Town Hall will close on Saturday, January 21.

Read more on Hereford Library Users Group campaign to create the Rankin Centre, here.

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