The library refurbishment project will take place at the same time as a refurbishment on the adjacent Grade I listed Llanelly House to create a 'cultural gateway' to the town. The Georgian-era Llanelly House, completed in 1714, is one Wales's oldest town houses. In 2007 it was the Welsh finalist in the original series of BBC Two's Restoration programme, but lost in a public vote for the £3.4m first prize. Last year its future was secured with a £3.4m Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

The Grade 2 listed Athenaeum was built in the 1850's. Carmarthenshire council has been granted listed building consent for the 18 month project, which began last month.

The Athenaeum library project will see the building contain a reference and children's library, an arts/crafts exhibition area and video conferencing/training room.

The refurbishment will include protecting and preserving the older part of the building and integrate them with the newer elements to provide one, seamless, modern, state-of-the-art, public library in an iconic building.