Minehead Library has officially reopened in Bancks Street after significant refurbishment to make the facilities more accessible, modern, and energy efficient.
When the library opened in 1962 it won a Civic Trust Award, but after nearly sixty years of service the building was in need of upgrading. The roof was at the end of its operational life, the fabric of the building needed updating, and the building had poor thermal efficiency.
After analysing options, including alternative sites, Somerset County Council found the most cost-effective option was to refurbish the existing site.
This week, following £857,800 of investment, the refurbished library reopened to visitors with a new extension, triple-glazed windows, an air source heat pump, solar panels, underfloor heating, and much improved thermal insulation.
Sue Crowley, Somerset County Council Strategic Manager for Libraries and Registration Services, said: “I hope everybody will enjoying using this new space, the transformation is great to see.
“The reach of Minehead Library goes far beyond the immediate community of Minehead. Regular users come from as far as Nether Stowey in one direction and right across Exmoor in the other, providing a focal point for this part of Somerset.
“The team in Minehead have been truly resilient throughout the project despite the various disruptions.
“We now have a library which I hope will take us forward for the next 60 years and we want to get the word out there that the library is back home and open for business as usual.”
Ollie Woodhams, Somerset County Council Head of Property, added: “First and foremost this is an excellent local library for Minehead and the surrounding community, but it is also a big moment in Somerset’s journey towards becoming a carbon neutral county.
“This is our first fully decarbonised library building and a real step forward for us.”
The library will be open between 9am and 5.30pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, 9am to 5pm on Fridays, and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays; being closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Alongside traditional book-borrowing services, the library will host registration and public health services, access to digital resources, and a bookable room for community activities.
Somerset County Council has been busy working to ‘decarbonise’ a number of buildings owned by the council including several libraries, Glastonbury Hub, and County Hall in Taunton. Early estimates indicate that the delivery of the various schemes could reduce the Council’s non-schools estate carbon output by around 27% – around 400 tonnes of carbon per annum.
To keep up to date with latest information about tackling the climate emergency in Somerset, visit Climate Emergency (somerset.gov.uk).
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Notes to editors
Picture caption (L-R) Carrie Russell, Somerset County Council Property Project Officer; Vicky Harvey, SCC Libraries Improvement Programme Development Officer; Local County Councillor Mandy Chilcott; Oliver Woodhams, SCC Head of Property; Liza Watts-Mabbott, Minehead Library and Information Officer; Sue Crowley, SCC Strategic Manager for Libraries and Registration Services; Sara Long, Minehead Library Manager, and Genevieve Branch, SCC Service Manager, Registration Services.
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