End of era for historic library

THE BOOK has closed on nearly 90 years of proud service to the Bulwell community with the closure of the town’s historic library.

A new library is to be incorporated in the multi-million-pound Riverside Centre, at the junction of Main Street and Coventry Road, which opened on Monday (January 30).

The Highbury Road library was the first to be built in Nottingham after World War One. Opened on February 26 1924, it was regarded at that time as one of the finest libraries in the country.

The foundation stone at the front of the library shows that this was laid by the then Mayor of Nottingham, Alderman E.L.Manning on February 27 1923.

Nottingham City Council will shortly be putting the building on the market but what the future use of the site will be is currently unknown.

No ceremony was held to mark the shutdown of the library, which took place at the end of the Saturday morning session on Saturday January 14.

However, a special party was held to celebrate the library’s 80th birthday in 2004. At that event, Coun Leon Unczur (Lab), then the council’s lead member for culture, said Bulwell people could feel very proud of the library and its long record of service.

He added: “Computer technology is now a key factor but there is always room for books and reading as well.”

Coun Unczur went on to say that libraries had changed beyond recognition over the years and there was no longer a big emphasis on quietness and saying ‘shush’. Libraries were now places where people could meet socially.

The new library will be a key feature of the ambitious joint-service Riverside centre, which has cost £22 million to build.

Planning permission for the Riverside Centre was granted in 2008. Buildings on the site were demolished in the winter of 2009. A grand opening is scheduled for March.

First to move in was Bulwell Community Toy Library, which is running play sessions for families at in partnership with the city council’s family community team.

But the state-of-the-art venue will also feature doctors’ surgeries, a youth club, Nottingham City Council services, sports centre and outdoor sports attractions.