25th May 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Library could make £900,000 return to former site

SIC Library Offices Hillhead

Shetland Library could end up back in its original building on the Hillhead if a recommendation by the education and families committee is approved.

The report into the project prepared by Robert Sinclair of the capital programme service proposed a £900,000 refurbishment of the “old” library, which would then house both the library and the learning centre.

All the services would be under one roof, and the additional space would mean that some books in storage could be displayed.

The St Ringan’s building, which has been used as the library since 2002, could then be used for other council services, possibly the Bruce Family Centre. Vacating St Ringans and the learning centre would be expected to yield a revenue saving of £100,000.

The project to refurbish the old library would mean replacing the roof and curtain walling of the building, together with internal work. If it is approved by the full council next month, it is expected that work would be completed by 2017.

Head of children’s services Helen Budge said having all the services in one building would bring efficiencies, and there would be room to expand the computer services currently at the learning centre, which are heavily used. Additionally, the council offices currently there could remain.

Vice-chairman of the education and families committee George Smith questioned the proposed refurbishment’s high figure in the light of the 3.3 per cent cuts to come across all services, and councillor Michael Stout asked that if more learning is accessed online, was St Ringans really too small.

He asked of the proposed move “Can we afford it and is it absolutely a necessity?”

Councillor Frank Robertson said the core structure of the old library was in good condition, and the meeting heard that if refurbished, it would have a 30 to 50-year life. However, selling the specialised building might be difficult, and demolition would cost around £200,000.

Mr Sinclair said that vacating the Bruce Family Centre, which only occupies part of the Bruce Hostel, which is a listed building, would free up the Knab site.

The members unanimously agreed the recommendation to refurbish.

About Rosalind Griffiths

I am a Shetland Times reporter covering news, including health stories, and features. I have been in Shetland for more than 30 years.

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One comment

  1. Michael Garriock

    Ah, so “an appropriate period of grace” to allow for “saving of face” has elapsed, and the powers that be can finally think to admit the old kirk isn’t such an “ideal” facility as they were so keen and ready to assure everyone it was, despite being told the opposite by numerous who were in a better position to make that call, the clients and staff.

    What happened to us being assured back then that the old Library/Museum building was in “very poor condition” and “might fall down”, or words more or less to that effect? Must be a marvellous building that is not only still there but has “recovered” enough to be considered “structurally good” by an architect.

    “Mr Sinclair said that vacating the Bruce Family Centre….would free up the Knab site.”

    Uh huh. Something slowly simmering in the cauldron on the back burner. Must make ready for it, mustn’t we. Such behaviour was not unanticipated. May as well just have cut to the chase and said, “Stuff will just have to go where it can, the site must be emptied for….hush…..mustn’t say yet”.

    Reply

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