Refurbished library due for soft opening next week

Shetland Library is due to open to the public on Monday following a major refurbishment of the 1960s building.

The extensively modernised and decorated premises are said to offer more than 50 per cent additional floor space than the old St Ringan’s Church, the library’s previous home.

That makes the new location better able to house over 60,000 books and materials that have recently been moved from St Ringan’s.

The £1.6 million project means all library services will now operate under one roof, including book browsing and borrowing and the computer suite.

The building has been re-roofed, with new aluminium curtain walling and modern energy-efficient windows fitted.

And internal upgrades have included the installation of a new air-source heating system.

A “soft opening” is being planned for Monday, although Shetland Islands Council says contractors are still working to bring the building’s new lift into operation.

Engineers from the mainland are due to arrive next week.

The top floor of the building previously housed the Shetland Museum for many years – until the new museum opened in 2007.

Shetland Library also occupied the lower floor of the building until 2002 before moving to St Ringan’s.

Councillors agreed in 2015 to fund the refurbishment works, with additional funding approved four years later.

The SIC says the project should be completed within the £1.6m budget.

Construction work was undertaken by Hunter and Morrisons.

Chairman of the council’s education and families committee George Smith said: “I am very pleased that after a long spell of refurbishment Shetland Library will reopen its doors to the public.

“The building looks great and it will be so good to be able to have all the library services in under one roof again.

“It is disappointing that there are still some issues with the lift but I know that the library users are keen to enjoy what’s available to them just now.

“Please be patient whilst we get fully functional in the first few weeks of our soft start.

“We are working to ensure the building will soon be fully available for everyone to enjoy.”


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