Councillors have today (Tuesday 24 May) approved plans for work to get underway on Nottingham’s new Central Library in July, creating a landmark development at the heart of the city’s regenerated Southside.

The replacement for the old Central Library on Angel Row will be ready to open to the public next summer after the work to turn the building into a modern library has been completed.

The City Council’s Executive Board was told that a number of assessments of the design and affordability of the scheme have been carried out and that careful management of the city’s property portfolio and successful sales have allowed £10.5m to be identified within the council’s capital programme for the work.

The work involves turning the shell of the building – part of the new Broad Marsh Car Park and Bus Station complex – into a modern library, and so also involves installing new floors, lifts, electrics and plumbing.

The new library, spread over three floors and fully accessible via lifts, will feature a high-quality children’s library with an immersive story telling room, extensive book collection and comfortable areas to sit and read. Other amenities will include:

  • Feature book walls and shelving to display a large collection of books
  • Free wi-fi and free access to computers, laptops and iPads  
  • A café & ground floor reception area which can be converted into a performance space
  • Specialist and rare collections room for local study material
  • Learning lab for special activities and school class visits
  • Meeting rooms
  • Exhibition space
  • Creative design areas
  • Business Intellectual Property Centre for the city.

A new Central Library is one of the key elements of the regeneration of the city’s Southside area. The new library building is surrounded by transformed streets, with extensive pedestrianisation, planting and seating offering pleasant places to walk, cycle and relax. Similar work is also planned for Collin Street alongside the new library to become fully pedestrianised, with a new plaza planned to link through the demolished section of the former shopping centre to Lister Gate and the city centre beyond. A masterplan is in place outlining a vision for the Broad Marsh site, including green space, an enhanced entrance to the City of Caves attraction and a mixture of housing, retail and leisure uses.

Providing a new Central Library was considered as part of a Libraries Needs Assessment looking at the whole of the library service, which identified it would play an important role in delivering part of the city’s overall offer – a view supported by feedback in the public consultation. Many residents used the Central Library as well as their own local library and valued the special function it plays in supporting the whole service.

City Council Leader, Councillor David Mellen, said: “I’m really pleased that this key development in the regeneration of the city’s Southside can now go ahead. We have been committed to providing a new Central Library that meets modern needs and expectations, and while for a number of reasons it has taken a little longer to get to this stage, it’s exciting that work can get underway in a couple of months.

“This will be a bright, state-of-the-art facility with a fantastic children’s library and some great features such as an immersive story telling room using the latest audio visual technology to help bring books alive.

“A new library like this will help to attract people to an area where we are making excellent progress with regeneration work. Previously traffic-choked streets are becoming pleasant pedestrian-friendly areas to relax and linger, and the library with its café and other great amenities will play a key role in bringing people into the city.”

Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture & Planning, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “People have been eagerly awaiting the new Central Library, so I’m delighted we are now moving these exciting plans forward, with work due to start very soon.

“We know from the consultation that Central Library is well-used and well-liked by local people, and I’m particularly pleased with the focus on the children’s library which create up-to-date facilities for families to enjoy.”