Crosby residents have given their unanimous backing to proposals to find a new use for the town’s iconic Carnegie Library, a new survey has revealed. The findings come from a recent consultation exercise carried out by Bootle-based regeneration specialists Regenerus and the Friends of Carnegie Library (FOCAL).
The two organisations announced plans to work together on developing proposals for the historic building last September. The views of local people were gathered at two open days and via an online survey, and according to Regenerus Chief Executive, Cate Murphy, there was ‘overwhelming’ support for preserving the building for use by the local community.
“This consultation demonstrated once again that the Carnegie building has a special place in the hearts of Crosby residents, from children through to older people” said Mrs Murphy.
The survey results reveal there is strong demand for a wide range of services in the new building including study and family learning facilities, adult education, local history sessions and meeting space. In addition, there is a call for health and well-being classes and support, money advice, film and music clubs, vintage fairs and even hot-desking facilities for small businesses. This reinforces another survey finding, which is that the number of people who used the library for socialising and attending meetings when it was open exceeded those who visited purely to borrow books.
The consultation shows consistent demand for the building to be open from Monday to Saturday, although a third of respondents also want Sunday access. Usage of the facility would predominantly be in the daytime – peaking in the afternoons – although almost half of residents would also like it to be available in the early evening, up to 8pm. The survey also revealed across-the-board demand for new facilities and services to be dementia friendly, wherever possible.
Following the consultation, the team from Regenerus and FOCAL are now busy with preparing a business plan for the building, and putting together funding applications including one to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Models of how the revamped Carnegie building could look will be available for public consultation in the near future.
Cate Murphy said: “We’re very grateful that so many people took the time to express their views about the Carnegie, and our job now is to use all this feedback to help us come up with a viable action plan and business case for the future of the building.
“It’s clear that many people share our view that as well as being a community asset, a restored Carnegie could also help to support the independent traders in College Road” she added.
The Grade II-listed Carnegie Library opened in 1905 and was closed in December 2013 year after more than a century of serving local people. Regenerus and FOCAL stress that there’s still time for Crosby residents to have their say on the Carnegie by completing the online survey at www.carnegie-crosby.org.uk.