Bath & North East Somertset Council

Bath Library and Information Service at the Podium

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Proposals for remodelling Bath Central Library at the Podium have been put on hold.  The decision to freeze the proposal follows a review of capital projects in the light of challenging council budget pressures which require £50m of savings over the next five years and as a result no remodelling work will be carried out at this time on the Podium site. The scheme involved a number of council and partner services moving into a new-look library alongside the closure of the existing one stop shop in Manvers Street.

The council remains committed to a library at the Podium in Bath and the one stop shop at Manvers Street. Its successful wider Modern Libraries programme will continue securing the future of the library service in Bath and North East Somerset. 

Over the past two years the council has worked extensively with communities on the proposals. It has listened to comments, viewpoints and feedback throughout to ensure it met the needs of the whole community. These helped shape and develop the proposed enhancements and improvements for a final design.  

The council wants to thank all those people who have taken part including:   

  • Regular users and also non-users of both the One Stop Shop and the Podium Library.
  • A wide range of local communities including people with disabilities
  • People with dependent children and also representatives of the group Save Bath Library.
  • Specialist library and one stop shop staff, partner organisations, adults with learning difficulties and specialist user groups such as Autism Parents Group and the Youth Hub.

Councillor Karen Warrington, Cabinet Member for Transformation and Customer service, said: “Our proposals for Bath central library have been complex and have not always been well-received by everyone. With this in mind and with a challenging budget to set ahead of us, the decision has been made to freeze further work at the Podium but continue to deliver on other improvements identified as part of the Modern Libraries programme. It has been a difficult decision to make but a prudent one and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the design proposals for the library to date and who continue to support the library service.”

Don't forget you can still access a superb wealth of books, e-books, e-audio books, free digital magazines and so much more, as well as popping into the Podium or the other Bath and North East Somerset libraries. For details please follow this link 

Why has this decision been made now?

This pause to the Bath library project follows a review of capital projects in the light of challenging council budget pressures which require £50m of savings over the next five years. In light of these pressures and a recommendation to withdraw our request for a certificate of lawfulness, we are pausing this £3m scheme, pending the outcome of the council’s budget setting process in February 2019.

Does this mean the Bath library may shut in the future?

Library services will continue to be delivered from the Podium. The engagement we have carried out showed users’ love of the existing library.  Our first priority remains to ensure we deliver the ‘national universal offers’ and support those that most benefit from our service. 


What is happening to the services at the One Stop Shop in Manvers Street?

Relevant services will continue to be delivered to meet customer need and demand.


How much money has been spent on the Bath project?

In October 2017 we reported to cabinet that £322,000 had been spent more than half of which was invested in the new Local History and Archives research and information centre in the Guildhall. A further maximum budget of £330,000 was approved to take the Bath project into the design stage. The total commitment on this phase is currently being finalised in light of the decision.  

What about the library staff that were made redundant?

None of our library staff have been made redundant.

£450,000 of recurring revenue saving has been made so far across the whole of Customer Services as a result of the Modern Libraries Programme. The majority of savings were achieved through new improved ways of working and staff reductions through natural turnover.

Is the Events room now available for bookings?

The Events room is available for bookings.       


What are the implications now for the wider Modern Libraries Programme?

The number of libraries in B&NES is actually increasing thanks to our community libraries programme.  We continue to enhance our home delivery service and work with children and young people. The mobile library is being replaced with a new vehicle and the way books are stored and distributed across the authority (including our new community run libraries) has been radically changed to improve access to the consortium’s three million items.

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