The tendering process to find the company who will shape the future of Glossop’s library has begun.
Action group Save Our Unique Library (SOUL), who campaigned to keep the facility in Victoria Hall, on Talbot Street, has confirmed it has consulted four different architects with regard to a revamp.
As previously reported in The Advertiser, the volunteers opposed plans for a new purpose-built library proposed by Derbyshire County Council, which were scrapped in July.
On Monday, the group will finalise the design brief, and an architect will be revealed within two weeks.
Sketches and plans for the Grade II listed building will then be unveiled in January and be subject to public consultation for a month.
Ian Bennett, chairman of SOUL, said it was the very first step towards a much-needed renovation of the Gothic hall, which was built in 1888.
He explained it was donated to the people of Glossop in trust and that the terms of the covenant broadly stated that the premises should be used as a library, museum, science/art school and public hall.
He said: “The current configuration has basically remained the same since its inception. The Victorian building didn’t have a very welcoming entrances.
“Their libraries were actually slightly forboding: ‘Do as you’re told! Be quiet!’. They were never designed to be warm and friendly but we want to change that.”
The architects have been asked to consider maximising space usage and to improve the flow of people over the full three floors.
At present, the library only occupies the ground floor. Suggestions include an internet café in the basement and space for community groups to meet on the first floor.
Last week, council leaders met to discuss plans to combine the library with the nearby Glossop Adult Community Education Centre, on Talbot Street, to create a “one-stop learning hub”.
Mr Bennett added: “We are willing to work with the new county administration on their campus ideas but must put the more long term needs of the Victoria Hall first.”