Scarborough library receives £200,000 Arts Council funding

This story was published 14 March 2022

People who use Scarborough library can look forward to exciting developments after it secured £200,000 from a fund which helps libraries upgrade their buildings and boost their digital offer.

Scarborough library designs

The image above shows an artist impression of what Scarborough library could look like following the project.

Following the announcement, North Yorkshire’s library service has pledged another £250,000 to deliver a major transformation project. 

The grant has been awarded through the Libraries Improvement Fund by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, and is being delivered by Arts Council England.

“We are delighted to receive such a huge cash boost from the Arts Council to deliver an exciting transformation project in Scarborough library,” said Libraries Manager Chrys Mellor. 

“Along with our investment, it will be used to create a welcoming, inclusive, exciting and accessible library, providing a range of facilities and resources that inspires people to visit and use as a social space.”

The ground floor will be reconfigured to create a safe place for families and a bright, attractive space for children to allow a wide range of activities and events to take place with quieter areas for relaxation, study as well as space to meet up with friends. There will also be upgrades to its well-used private meeting rooms.

Customer feedback shows that expectations have changed in the 20 years since its IT suite was established. The plans will provide young people with study space, job seekers will get the support they need, business start-ups will be able to hot-desk, remote workers lacking office equipment will find what they need and people needing privacy will be able to meet remotely with agencies, removing the need to travel long distances. A smaller group-teaching suite will be created for partners to support learners.

Chrys added: “Attracting young people and enabling them to benefit from resources to support wellbeing, learning opportunities, social needs and employment prospects is high on our agenda. We want a library where partners and community groups can meet and have opportunities to develop their own activities in both private and public spaces. We will create a versatile space that will allow for group activities, informal drop-ins and private consultation.

“We have been contacted by remote workers, unlikely to have an office to return to post-pandemic, looking for spaces to meet or access equipment and resources that they do not have at home. The library is the place to fulfil those needs. In doing so we will play a vital role in supporting the town’s economic recovery.”

The library will continue to work directly with existing and potential customers, young people and groups about the bid and create a space where they are comfortable to study, access services and meet.

The development will also provide a more inclusive environment for people with additional needs. This will influence the layout, signage, choice of furniture and shelving, as well as new digital resources.

It is hoped that work can begin on the project in Spring 2023. Through a planned maintenance programme, £350,000 has already been invested in improving the fabric of the building; including a new heating system as part of our zero carbon ambitions.

The Cultural Investment Fund will see £48 million distributed to 63 organisations. It is allocated through three streams: £24 million through the Cultural Development Fund, £18.8 million through the Museums Estate and Development Fund, and £5 million through the Libraries Improvement Fund.

The Libraries Improvement Fund is transforming library services in England by helping them upgrade their buildings and digital infrastructure so they can respond to the changing ways people use them.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive Officer, Arts Council England, said: “Our artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries are experts in making villages, towns and cities better places to live, work, visit or play. This investment means they’ll be able to help more people across England to lead happier, more creative lives.”

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson, said: “Culture is the bedrock of society. It brings people together, entertains and informs us, and helps us to understand our common past and shared future.

“Today we are announcing a raft of new funding for treasured cultural institutions up and down the country.

“This will help them to continue their great work, advance our work to level up access to arts and culture so they can be enjoyed by people no matter where they live, and protect these cherished institutions for future generations to enjoy.”