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.