Library set for major expansion
Emersons Green ward councillors Rachael Hunt, Judy Adams and Colin Hunt outside the library
EMERSONS Green library is set for a major expansion to vastly increase the number of children’s books and other services.
South Gloucestershire Council is using £266,000 secured from Lyde Green housing developers for the extension, as part of an agreement to pay for community infrastructure improvements alongside hundreds of new homes.
It is not yet known when work will start or how long the library will be shut for it to be carried out.
The extension would cater specifically for young people, with an expanded children’s library, and could include an area for quiet study for people of all ages.
Council cabinet members agreed the funding following a campaign by Emersons Green ward Conservative councillors Judy Adams, Colin Hunt and Rachael Hunt.
They said: “We are delighted that this funding will be used to fund an extension for the library, further enhancing our town centre.
“The project is obviously in its early days, with funding having only just been announced, but we look forward to working with the council to ensure residents’ views are heard on how best to improve this important public resource.”
Writing on the Voice’s Facebook page, many readers called for money to be found for the library’s staffed opening hours to be increased.
Louise Taylor said: “Perhaps they would like to use it to pay for some staff to replace the ones that they recently made redundant, citing that the library could run unmanned. Just a thought?”
Emma Moorcroft suggested extra rhyme time and story time sessions for pre-school children, along with messy play sessions, while Victoria Stokes suggested making toilets accessible during times when the library is open but unstaffed.
A report to the cabinet said feasibility works were now progressing with the full scheme to be costed and evaluated in the coming year.
The £266,000 is from Emersons Green Urban Village Ltd, a consortium made up from a number of Lyde Green developers and landowners, including Taylor Wimpey, Barratt Homes and Persimmon Homes.
Two years ago South Gloucestershire Council introduced the Open Access scheme, allowing users to visit libraries between 8am and 7.30pm, seven days per week. But the council also cut back the length of time libraries were staffed by 30 per cent, to save £500,000 from its library budget, making some staff redundant.
It means many libraries are not staffed every week day.Emersons Green Library is staffed on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service