Crosby’s historic Carnegie Library is set for a new future as a community resource for local people.
Following an open tender process Sefton Council has awarded a 21-year lease on the Grade II listed building to Bootle-based regeneration specialists Regenerus, the organisation responsible for bringing Antony Gormley’s Iron Men to the town.
The bid was supported by local councillors, the Friends of Carnegie Library (FOCAL) and a large number of the town’s community groups, voluntary organisations, businesses and residents.
The Regenerus plans for the 1905 architectural gem on College Road include the physical renovation of the fabric of the building, and creating a ‘third space’ within which will be used as the base for a range of activities that will benefit the local community.
These could include a community information point, free-to-access computer facilities and a book exchange, training rooms, a music and arts area and a cafe.
The £1.6-million bid also proposes to create a dedicated area for children and teenagers to read and learn, and a dementia-friendly space for older residents.
A renovated Carnegie Library would also provide safe and affordable meeting facilities for Crosby-based clubs and societies, and function space available for private hire.
Regenerus chiefs say they are delighted that their tender has been successful, but they stress this is just the start of a much longer process.
They now have the job of attracting funding from a range of sources to enable them to turn their plans into reality.
Chief Executive, Cate Murphy, commented: “We are very grateful to Sefton Council for their faith in our ability to reopen the Carnegie as a resource for the whole community.
“We have had some excellent backing from the local councillors, who share our vision for the building to become a centre of excellence for knowledge, learning and local heritage.
“We would also like to thank the residents, community groups and businesses who have been so generous with their ideas and support, and have inspired us to take the project forward.”
“Clearly the Carnegie has a special place in the hearts of Crosby residents, and we will be doing everything we can to attract the funding needed to secure the exciting new future for the building mapped out in our bid,” added Mrs Murphy.
The Regenerus Carnegie bid was supported by award-winning social enterprise We Make Places who organised the community consultation events, and came up with the initial designs. Surveyors Rowley Szilagy provided detailed advice on the building’s condition.
Crosby’s Carnegie building is one of 2,509 libraries across the world built between 1883 and 1929 with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. There were originally 660 Carnegie libraries in the UK and Ireland.
* For regular updates on the Carnegie project visit www.carnegie-crosby.org.uk.