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Portsmouth Libraries Continue To Prosper

Author: annahowelll Published: 27th March 2012 14:47

Due to exciting new proposals, Portsmouth continues to buck the national trend, as it sets its sights on transforming the future of two more libraries in the city.

Following on from the success of renovating Southsea's former Woolworths store into a state-of-the-art library, book lovers in the north of the city could soon be benefitting from a relocated library in Paulsgrove, and new library in Drayton.

Investigations are underway to look into Paulsgrove library moving from the community centre, with 147 Allaway Avenue as a possible location. The empty unit would need to re-developed to create a vibrant and inviting space.

Between 3-4% of residents use the library in its current location, and figures for the number of books taken out are well below what could be expected for the area.

Residents raised issues with the current location in a 2006 consultation, citing concerns over the steep slope causing difficulties for wheelchairs, buggies and the elderly.

Moving to the Allaway Avenue precinct places the library in a thriving shopping area.

Further exciting developments are in place for Drayton and Farlington residents, who despite being a large community do not have their own library. The go-ahead has been given to start looking at sites which would see a new library in the area.

Cllr Lee Hunt, cabinet member for culture said: "We've found a successful formula that by moving libraries to prominent locations really does boost the number of people using them.

"Over 2,000 new members joined Southsea in the first six-weeks of opening last year.

"We're really excited to be considering a move that will provide excellent access for Paulsgrove residents.

"The figures speak for themselves and sadly in its current location people just aren't using it.

"I'm also delighted to announce that we're investigating locations for a library in Drayton, where residents currently use a mobile library.

"Further developments could be in store for Cosham residents, it's early days but if we can secure the budget a high street location for a Cosham library, like Southsea, could be on the cards.

"We're not closing libraries, we're looking at ways to modernise them."

Portsmouth's housing department will be funding the £90k re-fit of the Paulsgrove library site. Cllr Steve Wylie, cabinet member for housing said:

"Our residents have shown they want new libraries, but these have to be in a suitable place.

"I'm delighted that we're able to help Paulsgrove residents by providing an attractive new library space."

Joe Mcquilken, 17, Young Poet Laureate and former King Richard's pupil

(Paulsgrove) said: "This is fantastic news for the area. Libraries are a hub, with people using them not just to take out books, but place to stop and gather thoughts.

"It's brilliant what's been happening to libraries in Portsmouth. They've become much more relaxed, comfy environments. They have the best of both worlds, symbols of thought and peace, but also looking to the future."

A report, outlining the details of all proposals, is due in the summer.

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