By Josh Peachey
Walkley Library, which is the only Carnegie library in Sheffield, is going to be expanded to include a bar and café.
Sheffield City Council recently approved plans for the Grade II-listed building to be renovated as it is in ‘desperate need of repair.’
The council decided that there should be a combination of the volunteers and a cafe-bar run by the Sheffield based brewers.
Chris Reeve, Chair of Walkley Library, said: “A lot of people will be very excited about the opportunity to come in here and enjoy a coffee, or a glass of wine or a beer, and maybe some food. It also gives us the scope that although we’ll have less space, we will be open more.”
True North Brew Co (TNBC), the company who are buying the site, have an ‘outstanding record of acquiring tired buildings and completely rejuvenating them’ according to the application plans.
Mr Reeve was part of the team of volunteers who took over the library in September 2014, when the council decided that they didn’t have the resources to run the libraries themselves.
He added “The best way to keep this library sustainable is to have the commercial input to look after the building and for us to run it as a voluntary library.”
There was confusion surrounding the plans in 2015 which lead to a petition being made, which referred to the library being sold to become a bar.
The Walkley Library Chair was adamant to make clear that a significant section of the library will be legally protected for 125 years and will continue to be run by Walkley Carnegie Library volunteers.
Carnegie Libraries are libraries built with donations from Scottish-American businessman Andrew Carnegie between 1993 and 1929.
Chris Reece told us why this renovation is long overdue…