Excitement is building in Elland as the £1.75 million refurbishment of the town’s library nears completion and is due to open its doors on Monday 7 June at 10am.
Calderdale Council has been busy transforming the building into a welcoming, state-of-the-art community hub, which will provide modern library services, an IT suite, office space and a refurbished history room for The Greater Elland Historical Society.
The eagerly anticipated reopening comes just days after the announcement that Elland town centre will benefit from £6.3 million of the Government’s Future High Streets funding to boost the economy, business opportunities and the visitor experience.
Elland Library has had a complete revamp, with a redesigned and redecorated lower floor for the library facilities, children’s section and IT suite, plus new signage and new windows for a brighter feel. The ageing roof tiles have been repaired and many of the original slates have been reused to maintain the building’s heritage and character.
Another piece of the building’s fascinating history has been brought to the spotlight, with the restoration of an original stained glass window which has now been added to the entrance.
The building’s upper floor, which has been unoccupied for many years, has also been transformed and will provide office space for Council staff, which will support the local economy.
Some Elland residents will remember that there was formerly a dance hall upstairs. The Council had to remove the sprung floor to enable it to structurally carry the weight of the new office walls and furniture. There are plans to display the trophies that used to be awarded to Elland Gala competitors.
As part of the Council and the borough’s commitment to tackling climate change, the library is full of sustainable features, helping to improve energy efficiency and protect the environment.
Cllr Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader, said:
“We are excited to reopen Elland Library after its impressive transformation. The new, modern facilities will provide a warm welcome and state-of-the-art services for visitors.
“This investment is part of our commitment to revitalising and strengthening local high streets and maintaining valued library services at the heart of the community.
“Delivering a refurbishment of this scale is a great achievement, especially during a pandemic, and is testament to the hard work and dedication of the teams involved.
“Local heritage is important to us, and we know that many residents will have memories of the old building. Alongside the 21st century facilities, we have taken great care to preserve and make the most of historic features.”
There has certainly been a ‘buzz’ about this project, thanks to the discovery of around 50,000 bees in the library roof whilst replacing the ageing tiles. Local experts helped the Council to safely remove the nest (which took seven hours!) and rehome the bees locally.
As COVID-19 is still in our communities, social distancing and other COVID-safety measures will be in place, as in other venues, when Elland Library reopens. Opening hours will be slightly shorter at first to minimise the number of people in the building for safety reasons, and these will be reviewed in line with the national roadmap out of lockdown. For more information about Elland Library and its opening hours, please visit https://calderdale.gov.uk/v2/residents/leisure-and-culture/libraries
Visitors will be able to browse and choose their own books and use the IT suite, photocopier and study space. There will be a booking system for the children’s library at first to limit the space to one family at a time, in line with the current procedure in Calderdale’s other libraries. This is the only way to ensure social distancing in these small and cosy spaces.
We should all continue to follow the ‘five big things’ to help protect ourselves and others from COVID-19:
- Keep our distance and limit mixing with people we don’t live with.
- Wear a face covering where necessary, unless medically exempt.
- Self-isolate if we test positive or are a contact of someone who has tested positive.
- Meet others outside where possible, and if not then let the fresh air in.
- Book our vaccine when we are invited by the NHS.
The refurbished Elland Library is just one part of the Council’s wider investment in the town. In addition to the Future High Streets projects, plans are progressing for the proposed Elland Railway Station, works to improve access to the station, improvements to the canal towpaths and upgrades to the A629 route as it passes through the town centre, including enhanced facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
Details of the projects in Elland and across Calderdale can be found on the Calderdale Next Chapter website: www.calderdalenextchapter.co.uk(external link)
The Next Chapter supports the Vision2024 for Calderdale. The year 2024 marks Calderdale’s 50th birthday. Where do we want to be by 2024? Get involved on Twitter with #VisionCdale2024 and find out more at www.calderdale.gov.uk/vision