For well over 12 months Saltash Town Council have been engaged in the proposed development and investment consultation for Saltash Library. The Council view this as a great opportunity for the town's community since Cornwall Council's devolution programme allowed the future management and running of the library to be transferred locally.
This fits in well with the Council's ambitions and plans to not only secure the library's immediate future for the community, but leave a lasting legacy.
The building itself, being 60 years old, is in need of restoration to make it fit for purpose, and it's this timing that creates the opportunity to make the library a much more complete community asset and multi-use facility.
Please take time to look at the information below.
History of a Popular Library
In 1926 the first library of 100 books came to town as the Cornwall Free Library Scheme.
More books were needed for increased borrowing so in 1953 the first full-time librarian was appointed.
In 1960 plans were drawn up for a permanent library so the modernist architect Royston Summers was appointed and drew up plans for the futurist building pictured above which opened in 1962.
170,700 books were issued in 1978 and in 1992 the library was extended, doubling its floor capacity for increased demand.
In 2010, 90,000 visitors passed through its doors utilising the library and its other facilities.
As part of Cornwall's devolution programme in 2019 the library was safeguarded by transferring to Saltash Town Council.
Growth of a Vibrant Town and Library
Saltash Town now has a population of 15,700 with an evenly spread distribution of ages and is continuing to expand alongside its neighbouring conurbations.
Currently saltash library has 6,155 card registered customers. this continues to grow weekly and is supported by the libraries online click and collect and borrowbox service.
The library has a fixed asset stock of 10,500 books with free online access to cornwall libraries complete collection of books for everyones availability and pleasure via click & collect.
The library offers space for all types of community groups, schools and young childrens groups as well as free use of computer and scanning facilites for the general public.
The library signposts vulnerable people with social issues to cornwall council and supports and promotes local charities and groups.
Through the covid 19 pandemic the library and its key workers have become an integral support pillar for many peoples well-being.
During Summer 2020, Saltash Town Council consulted with the community of Saltash on the exciting project of library refurbishment works to provide a multiuse community facility.
The results of the first public consultation supported the Council in their ambitious vision with a result of 86.71% for and 13.29% against.
The project was costed in detail to enable the Council to move forward with the Phase 2 Public Consultation process.
Again results from the Second Public Consultation supported the Council's vision with a result of 65.41% for and 34.59% against.
At Full Town Council held in October 2020 it was resolved to seek the approval of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to apply for a PWLB loan of £200,000.
An additional shortfall of £5,105 is to be included in the Precept for the year 2021/2022.
The way is now closer to deliver the facility the community deserves.
The Hub Legacy
A vibrant Community Hub with the library at its core.
A variety of helpful community comments and ideas for the new hub have been included in the plans. Ideas ranging from newer and a wider variety of books to well lit spaces for reading, from child friendly spaces to the introduction of community classes have all been adopted in the vision.
The Library Community Hub will function as a major information centre for reading, learning and enjoyment for all ages, complemented by its free online digital service, and offering a community space for all types of community groups and activities.
This new asset for Saltash is not just about the present. As well as having an immediate impact on our well-being (as we are profoundly experiencing at the moment with the lockdown scenarios) it will leave a lasting legacy for future generations.
The New Community Hub
The wonderful 1960s building design is perfectly suited for its intended re-invention. Its height and open plan nature allow for a spacious foyer and access through the building.
There will be space for an integrated childrens book and play area, adaptable for music and other activities.
New shelving is to be introduced to house its large collection of library books.
A café and seating areas will offer opportunities for people to meet and relax while the new state of the art adaptable shelving will offer opportunities to create larger floor spaces for larger community and activity use.
The libraries computer and scanning consols will continue to be offered free to use with the associated printing service. digital and computer learning classes will be made available to all members of the community.
The mezanine floor will convert into Saltash Town Council Finance Offices, saving the Council money on renting office space.
The exterior bistro and patio area becomes a welcoming entrance to the multi-use community facility and library hub.
Phase 1 – Green light and implementation of plan. Timings to be finalised with contractors including closure and vacating site.
Phase 2 – Move to interim the Saltash Guildhall location. Estimated to take four weeks to pack, move, and set up. This includes boxing approximately 5,500 books and relocating a further 2,000 on shelves to the interim space. Approximately 3,000 plus books will already be in customer circulation. Move furniture, computer hardware, and other library resources to storage in the new interim location.
As much old furniture as possible will be re-purposed that has not been planned for use in the hub.
Phase 3 – While the library will continue to function as a click and collect library and limited browsing in the interim space, new furniture, fixtures and shelving will be ordered in advance.
Phase 4 – Library building sign-off: – fit out and relocation back to the new library hub. The relocation to the new hub should take approximately two weeks from its interim location.