How do you want your new ‘modern’ library?


Members of the public are being invited to help Bath & North East Somerset Council write the next chapter for Bath’s new modern library by giving their views on what they would like in the library.

The joint library and One Stop Shop in Keynsham is already proving the success of the integrated modern library approach. The Council is planning to move Bath Library to a new, modern, refurbished location opposite the new Bath University innovation and study centre on Manvers Street – close to the rail and bus station, and Southgate shopping Centre. The library is not closing – it’s moving.

A possible view of the new library set up.

Residents can share their feedback with the Council on what services they would most like to see and help shape how the new modern Bath Library will look.

The Council has prepared some example floor layouts and artist’s impressions to give a better idea of how the new Bath Library could look. People can view the example designs and also give their feedback by visiting:

Cllr Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “Bath Library is being modernised to ensure residents can continue to access a modern library service – one that is both sustainable for the future and fits with the way in which people are now using libraries.

How the new library could look. Subject to suggestions from the public.

“Overall, the public space will be equivalent to the library area in the Podium, but use of the space will be maximised to meet the needs of both current and future library users. Therefore we’re keen to hear from everyone about what they would like to see in the new modern library.

Suggested floor layout.


“The new location is owned by the Council, rather than leased like the Podium, ensuring the modern Bath Library has a permanent home and a thriving future that is fit for the 21st Century.

By co-locating our libraries with other community services we will not only provide a modern library service to residents but it will also help the Council towards achieving the large savings it has to make in the coming years.

Another suggested floor layout.


“Whilst some councils are having to close libraries, we are seeking innovative solutions to keep all our libraries open and ensure they are sustainable for the future.”

All existing services will still be available in the new library:

There will continue to be quiet and study areas

Plenty of books will still be on shelves to browse and we will ensure popular titles are readily available 

There will be more modern technology, better PCs, high-speed WiFi

All three million books will still be available to order online and collect

The library will continue to host events and flexible meeting spaces as well as small exhibitions – accommodated across the 3 floors where appropriate

Experienced staff will still be on hand to assist users.

A more modern location will also allow for better and more dedicated facilities for children.

The library will be installed over three floors.


Parking and disabled parking is available is available either directly opposite, immediately behind the new library or under cover at Southgate. Lewis House is easily accessible by public transport from the nearby bus and train stations. All three floors of the new modern library will have lift access.

Local history reference is transferring to the Guildhall archives to enable specialist support in one location for anyone undertaking in-depth research.

The Council is also developing plans to work with local communities to keep all other libraries open and make them sustainable for the future, with further details of these plans to be published in the months ahead as they are finalised. 


Bath & North East Somerset Council needs to save £49 million over four years. Modernising the library service will contribute £800,000 a year towards these savings by co-locating the libraries with other public services and freeing up current premises such as the Podium which can then generate an income for the Council through leasing opportunities.

There have been several protests about the library move with more planned to come.


  1. Let’s not forget that fewer books on the shelves means fewer books available free tomorrow.

    When we order a book the library service charges a fee. Therefore although the number of books to borrow may remain the same, if many of them aren’t on display on the shelves we will inevitably have to pay to borrow the rest.

  2. I think this the key point, it is not closing, but moving and I think to a significantly better location. Close to bus and train station and more accessible to people with mobility issues. What’s not to like?

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