Kendal’s much-loved library building is set for a major refurbishment in early 2021, to refresh the library and improve the range of facilities and services on offer.
In addition to redecorating the library, new dedicated teaching spaces will be created for community learning and skills courses, improving the library’s ability to support community groups and activities whilst maintaining an excellent collection of books and other resources for the community to access.
The refurbishment will also include re-wiring the entire library and installing new lighting and heating systems in the older parts of the building.
The work is scheduled to commence in early January and is expected to be completed by the end of April 2021. The works will be done in two phases – firstly within the historic main part of the library, followed by works to the newer first floor section, located over the Elephant Yard shopping centre.
Whilst the work is underway, the library will continue to provide access to its services including ‘select and collect’ as well as access to computers, although customers will need to book a slot to access computers in advance.
The library will re-open on the afternoon of Wednesday 2 December but will close the week beginning Monday 21 December to allow preparations for the refurbishment works to start in January.
Councillor Deborah Earl, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities, said: “We know in the short-term these vital improvements may cause some disruption for our customers and we’re hoping to minimise this by keeping the first floor of the library open.
“We hope to have this service up and running from early January in time for the refurbishment works beginning.
“I am delighted that the council is investing in libraries all over Cumbria, they are such important community hubs that provide access to a wide range of essential services.
“The county council recognises how important libraries are to our local communities, and we are committed to investing and improving our library services to make them even better and as accessible as possible.”
Work is already underway to prepare Kendal Library for the refurbishment works, with book collections and furniture being packed up and stored to create space for contractors to carry out the improvement works.
However the library will maintain a service, including browsing, Select and Collect, provision of a home delivery service to house-bound customers, and limited availability of pre-booked computer access until Christmas.
Local library branches in Ambleside, Grange, Ulverston and Windermere will reopen with COVID-secure conditions at the end of the current lockdown, and work is underway to re-open branch library services in Kirkby Lonsdale, Milnthorpe and Sedbergh as soon as it is safe to do so.
The county council’s library service continues to offer a wide variety of online services. All library members can get free access to eBooks, audio books, magazines, newspapers and comics.
Find out more and join the library service online for free via the website cumbria.gov.uk/libraries.
Further details of all library opening times and services in your local area are also available via the website.
Find Kendal Library on Facebook to stay up to date with latest news and progress on the refurbishment works.