By Joe Locker, Local Democracy Reporter
More than £24,000 has already been spent storing books and equipment from Nottingham’s old Central Library while the new facility is built and fitted out.
Central Library on Angel Row closed at the same time as all other libraries across England in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However Nottingham City Council opted to retire the facility and keep it closed during the development of the new £10.5m Central Library, which forms part of the new Broadmarsh Car Park and Bus Station.
Residents have been left without a main city library ever since, and the project to build a new one has been hit with numerous delays.
The council has been using a building it owns on Stonebridge Road in St Ann’s to store thousands of books and resources from the old library while the new one is fitted out.
A response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, submitted to the council by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, has now revealed the authority has spent £24,498 on storing books and resources after they were transferred.
It had already spent £205,000 moving the library’s stock from Angel Row to its temporary location back in 2021.
The council says: “Where possible, books and resources were dispersed to neighbourhood libraries and other cultural operational sites to reduce additional storage costs.
“Central Library resources and a small number of retained employees transferred from Angel Row Central Library to the building on Stonebridge Road from September 2021.
“At the same time, costs at Central Library in Angel Row reduced due to not opening, and this occurred as floors were cleared of books and resources.
“The cost reductions were reflected in the 2022/23 Medium Term Financial Plan, as a £266,000 one-off budget reduction in respect of Central Library and Sherwood Library.
“They were approved by Executive Board and Full Council, in February and March 2022, respectively.
“The procurement of a storage facility cost for Central Library resources following closure and transfer from Angel Row, which is specifically identified and charged to the ledgers at 24 March 2023, is £24,498.85.”
The new Central Library forms part of the new Broadmarsh Car Park and Bus Station, which is a key element in the redevelopment of the city’s southside area.
It is now expected to open in the summer, after the long-delayed fit out was deemed affordable back in February last year.
The new library will be spread over three floors and feature a cafe, children’s library area with an “immersive storytelling room”, an extensive book collection and areas to sit and read.
Recently the council put forward newly recommended proposals to save the Radford-Lenton Library, Aspley Library and Basford Library, following opposition from campaign group Save Nottingham Libraries.
The council had planned to axe them as a way to save £79,000 a year.
However opening hours of the three libraries will be reduced instead as a way to keep costs down.
Speaking previously Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Planning at Nottingham City Council, said: “It’s great to see that work is moving quickly and we’re at a really exciting stage where we will start to see our plans come to life as Overbury transform the interiors.
“The new library will help to bring people into the area and with the wider regeneration work, these pedestrianised streets will give people a place to visit and enjoy, with the library and its cafe at the heart of this.”