27 June 2016
Open day – Old Library and Museum
The Shetland Library is holding an open day on Saturday 2nd July to give folk a chance to share their memories of the old Library and Museum building, take a short tour of the space, and feed in ideas for Shetland Islands Council’s plans to upgrade the building.
On 29th June 1966 the then Lord Lieutenant, R. H. W. Bruce, officially opened Shetland’s brand new Library and Museum on Lerwick’s Lower Hillhead. Fifty years later, the building is due some much-needed maintenance and upgrading to allow it to return to use as Shetland’s county library.
Library Manager Karen Fraser: “We have had a lot of interest in the planned refurbishment. We partly moved out fourteen years ago and we’ve continued to use the old library and museum for our workrooms, storage and public event space. The old library has also housed adult learning, community development and social work staff, so it has continued to be a hard working building every since.
“We’re hoping for a lot of interest on the day, and would love it if folk would bring along any photos or memorabilia. If it is popular, we may stage another open day later in the year.”
Although there will only be a little more overall space than the library has now, there will be opportunities to design that space better. Customer surveys have indicated that the most-desired improvements are to have more books on display, a better children’s area and more study space.
During the construction period some services will be affected, and the library will also be consulting on this during the open day. Information and survey forms will be distributed widely so that people can still contribute if they can’t make it on the day itself.
Councillor Vaila Wishart chairs the SIC’s Education and Families Committee: “We want the refurbished library to look good, feel good and work well for everyone’s needs. I should stress, however, that our choices will have to be very realistic. Most of the project money will have to go on essentials, since the upper storey is in very poor condition – for example it needs a new roof, new windows, new curtain walling, new fire escape, a lift, modern insulation, ventilation and heating. If you go on one of the guided tours you will see there is a lot of work to be done.
“It will be great to see the building back in use – many of us have very fond memories of the old museum and library, and this is a great opportunity to bring the building back to life.”
The open day runs from 11am till 4.30pm on Saturday 2 July. As well as the tours there will be a small exhibition, with staff from the library and SIC’s technical team on hand to provide information.