New chapter for Central Library

Calderdale’s new central library and archive will be an inclusive, fresh, modern community venue that will bring the very best of our local heritage together with the latest innovations. A great place that will be used by our children, our families, our community groups and our businesses for learning, thinking, sharing, working and for leisure.

Artist's impression of the new library and archive

Ideally located for blending the old with the new, the library will be a contemporary building that will fuse the styles, tones and colours of our historic Piece Hall, Square Chapel and the former Industrial Museum buildings together with a modern, fit for purpose venue. A place that will bring the young and older together and one that will inspire learning and growth through celebrating and appreciating our unique history.

The new building will envelope the Grade II* Listed Square Church Spire and the remaining standing archaeology of Square Church. It will preserve and bring new energy to the derelict site. In addition it will incorporate the remains of the church, such as the rose window, into the design of the building, creating a combination of historic and contemporary architecture.

The building will have four floors. Each level has been carefully planned using people’s feedback, and to accommodate the range of services that will be delivered from local studies on the lower ground, adjacent to West Yorkshire Archives, through to the ground level with its welcoming reception area and the children’s library. The first floor accommodates adult fiction and an area for 13 to 16 year olds, alongside a digital media area. The second floor carries the adult non-fiction collections and offers opportunity for quiet study and use of IT on an individual or group basis. There will be a small meeting room in the library and more rooms available in the adjacent Piece Hall extension.

The library will be accessed from Square Road or through the Piece Hall via the new fourth gateway (terraced steps and public lift) that will be built as part of the new library development, creating an inspiring, welcoming and accessible cultural venue, open to all. This will also increase pedestrian access from this part of Halifax, creating a convenient route for people using the train station.

A public space will be created between the new central library and archive and the former Industrial Museum. In addition, there is a budget set for external work to the former Industrial Museum, which will improve the facade and stop water ingress to prevent any further deterioration of the premises. There will also be disabled car parking spaces and a layby for use by the Access Bus in front of the building on Square Road.

The Council’s ambition is to create an excellent building which is as environmentally friendly as possible, and reducing construction waste by recycling or reusing materials, minimising carbon dioxide emissions and providing a great environment for the community to use.

Calderdale Council’s Leader, Cllr Tim Swift, said:

“Calderdale’s new central library and archive is part of our exciting vision for a vibrant cultural quarter in Halifax town centre. The development will bring fantastic, state-of-the-art facilities for the community whilst making the most of our wonderful heritage, supporting the Piece Hall transformation and incorporating Square Chapel and Orangebox.”

Public drop-in sessions will be held at the Central Library, Halifax, to give people chance to find out more about the plans, give feedback and ask questions. The dates and times of the sessions will be available on the Council’s website soon.

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