A MILLION pound investment will transform city libraries into versatile social spaces.
The council announced this week that it will continue to run 14 of the district’s 25 libraries.
These ‘hub’ libraries will be modernised to allow for more activities and events, and more digital facilities such as free Wi-Fi and e-books.
Council bosses announced on Wednesday that they were looking to remove the ‘no-noise’ policy in some areas to create a greater social element within libraries.
The proposals follow a three-year review in which residents and library users were asked what they wanted.
Coun David Dagger, cabinet member with responsibility for libraries, said: “We’re recommending these changes as a direct result of what residents have told us.
“We haven’t changed the way we provide library services for over 30 years, so we have to modernise.
“This review gives us the opportunity to provide a 21st century service, investing in the 14 hub libraries.”
The ‘hub’ libraries will have a greater variety and quality of books than is available now.
The other 11 libraries that the council has chosen not to run any longer would become ‘satellite’ libraries run by community groups if viable business plans are submitted.
But some of the investment cash will go towards improving the council’s home and mobile library services, to help cater for people in places like Walton, which looks likely to lose its library completely.
Service director for sport and culture Lisa Dodd-Mayne said: “The home library service can only be accessed by people with mobility issues at the moment, but we will invest so that we can go out to people in the remote areas.
“The mobile service could be vastly improved, so once we’ve got approval from cabinet we will look at what each area needs and discuss the finer details.”
The new Wakefield One building, on Burton Street, will house the main city library when it opens in the autumn.
It will be spread over two floors with 60,000 books, over 60 PCs, audio-visual material, study and meeting spaces, children’s areas and lounges.
The council’s cabinet committee will make a final decision on the new libraries plan at a meeting on July 31.