Welwyn Garden City library to close for �2.1m refurbishment

PLANS to remodel WGC Library and make room for collections currently held at the site of the proposed Hatfield incinerator are set to cost the taxpayer more than �2.1m.

Library services at Campus West will close next month and move across town to the Howard Centre, while a �2m refurbishment programme gets under way that will eventually see the Central Resources Library (CRL) at New Barnfield in Hatfield relocated there.

The CRL is being closed as part of controversial plans by Hertfordshire County Council and Veolia Environmental Services to build a 380,000 tonne waste incinerator on the site.

Campus West library will close on Monday, November 7.

Two weeks later, on November 21, a temporary library will open at the former site of Maher The Bookseller, on the first floor of the Howard Centre.

The council has taken out a year-long lease on the unit, and is spending �101,000 on refitting the premises, in addition to market rent.

The refurbished Campus West library is due to reopen in September 2012, with extended opening hours.

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Cllr Chris Hayward, cabinet member for libraries, said: “WGC’s Campus West library will be moved temporarily to The Howard Centre to allow for a major �2m remodelling of the library.

“As well as remodelling the library to accommodate material from the CRL, the work is also part of an ongoing programme to refurbish and improve our library facilities.

“With regard to opening hours, the CRL is currently open for 55 hours per week and I am pleased to confirm this will be increased to 61 hours per week at the Campus West library.”

Not all of the CRL’s services will be moving to Campus West. The CRL will be split into two, with information and reference services moving to the refurbished library, and lending collections moving to a new “logistics centre”, where they can be requested by the public.

It is proposed that the logistics centre will be open for 46 hours a week, at a location in WGC yet to be decided.

A consultation on the library proposals closes on October 31.

Details are available to view at both New Barnfield and Campus West libraries, and by visiting the county council’s website.