The original library in Little Lever was Bolton's smallest community library with only 92 sq m of public space. It did however, attract a large number of visitors and it was becoming very difficult to operate a modern library service from this building. We had the opportunity to relocate to a site around four times larger, still within the heart of the community but co-located with a health centre.
This enabled them to develop a library with flexibility of layout and enhanced facilities, plus it allowed them to develop a partnership model with the health centre and other local organisations. This helped to promote the library as a community led service through acting as a hub for local initiatives alongside wider public library priorities and initiatives.
AFL architects designed the building and we worked with them to design the fit out for the library, AFL then procured the furniture from a variety of suppliers. Prior to this we carried out widespread community consultation from which it was clear that the people of Little Lever are very proud of both the original library and the place in which they live. They wanted to make sure this strong sense of place and pride in a community asset was the focus of our design. The library now has a large children’s area with an adjacent outside courtyard that has been used by different groups to learn about nature and meet to socialise.
It also have a much larger computer area, a teenage space, a place for groups to meet, a local history section and 2 meeting rooms. The library opened on 28th February 2022 with a community coffee morning and then a family fun day a few days later.