New central library planned for Sheffield

Plans for a new public library in the city centre have been announced by Sheffield City Council.

The new library will be located in the city centre after other libraries were visited throughout the country by Sheffield Councillors to gather ideas.

Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Norwich were all visited, with Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability, leading these.

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure, told JUS reporter James Alder: ‘‘The library will be a modern 21st century library with digital areas, a fantastic children’s library, learning spaces, places for debate and discussion as well as a café.

‘‘We were very impressed when we visited Norwich library because of its position and what it incorporated. We want Sheffield to have that wow factor even if it won’t be exactly the same.’’

During a consultation event in the city hall last year, 600 people attended the meeting to express their views on the library. In response to their feedback, the council have announced their vision for a new library.

The library is hoped to be part of a ‘two-site scheme’ with a ‘cultural hub’ also being planned on the site of the Graves building on Surrey Street. This will incorporate the existing art collection.

Sichuan Guodong Group, a Chinese civil engineering company, enquired into funding a 5-star hotel on the site of the existing art gallery as part of £1 billion agreement over 60 years. The company is continuing to consider the development opportunity of the building and whether it is financially viable.

Sheffield’s Art Gallery where plans for the city’s first 5-star hotel are being considered

‘‘We’ll be looking at the structural side and the repairs needed to be done to make the Graves building viable for future years,’’ said Coun Lea.

The council also announced plans to launch a consultation on the vision for the new library in 2018, with locals and users invited to participate.

Kim Streets, Chief Executive of Museums Sheffield, said: ‘‘We’re delighted that the Graves Gallery will continue to play an important role in the city. We look forward to working with Sheffield City Council to explore the options for its future.’’

Members of the public should subscribe to www.sheffield.gov.uk/alerts for the latest updates on the project.