Paisley Central Library will be moving to a temporary home in the town centre – ahead of a new state-of-the-art facility opening on the High Street.
The library has to leave its current home next to Paisley Museum in September when the building closes for a £42m revamp to turn the museum into an international-class destination based around the town’s unique textile heritage and collections.
Library provision will move to a new learning and cultural hub at 22 High Street by 2021, with a temporary library to be built next to the Lagoon leisure centre and due to open in January 2019.
The modular building will take over part of the facility’s south car park – currently used by council staff – and will house the most popular books and services, plus some public access PCs.
In the meantime, library users will be able to access the same services at Foxbar, Glenburn, Ferguslie and Ralston libraries, as well as a wide range of e-books.
A number of public-access PCs will be made available from September at 5 High Street to ensure jobseekers and others requiring internet access can continue to get online.
The hugely-popular Bookbug sessions will move to the main Lagoon building until the end of the year until the temporary library is ready.
The heritage centre – where the public can access family and local history records – is set to decamp to a new home in Mile End Mill in Seedhill Road over the winter and will stay for four years until moving back into the museum when it reopens in 2022.
The moves are part of Renfrewshire Council’s £100m investment in venues and infrastructure over the next few years, central to a wider plan to use the town’s unique heritage and cultural assets to transform its future.
The new learning and cultural hub will bring back into use a long-term vacant building on the High Street and create a modern library facility and educational resource for residents, pupils and students.
Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “The £100m investment in Paisley’s venues and infrastructure over the next few years will preserve the future of some of our best-loved heritage buildings by turning them into modern community facilities, while helping us attract new events and visitors, and driving footfall to the town centre.
“When the new learning and cultural hub opens in 2021 it will be a flexible, fully-accessible and digitally-connected space for pupils, students and residents of all ages to use.
“At the same time, the space vacated by the current library will allow the museum to expand and showcase our unique history and collections to a much wider audience than we can at present.
“But to achieve that, there will be a period of disruption over the next couple of years – and we will be ready to work with businesses and residents to minimise the impact of that.
“The temporary library at the Lagoon will be smaller in size than the current one, but will be designed to allow the most popular items and services to be easily accessed there.
“And while there will be a gap of a few weeks between the current building shutting and the temporary one opening, there will be lots of ways to access library services in the interim – from our online catalogue, to our other libraries at Ralston, Ferguslie, Glenburn and Foxbar, to the extra public PCs we are putting in place.”
The council’s investment in Paisley’s cultural infrastructure aims to build on the momentum of the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 by making it a key destination for visitors and events and equipping it to host a planned expansion of activity over the next few years.
The £42m museum revamp will create an international-class destination showcasing the town’s unique heritage and collections, predicted to bring around 125,000 visitors a year to the town centre.
Other big projects as part of the same programme include a £22m transformation of the interior of Paisley Town Hall to create one of the West of Scotland’s key entertainment venues, an upgrade of Paisley Arts Centre, major investment in town centre outdoor spaces and transport links, and new sporting facilities and events space at St James Playing Fields.
The plans build on the investment already made in the publicly-accessible museum store Paisley: The Secret Collection, opened last year on the town’s High Street, and the launch of the new destination brand and website at www.paisley.is
The new learning and cultural hub is being delivered by the council in partnership with Hub West Scotland – part of a Scottish-wide Government initiative, led by the Scottish Futures Trust, which forms a public-private partnership to develop community infrastructure projects, providing value for money and community benefits, for public-sector bodies.
For more info on library services, visit www.renfrewshireleisure.com