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Temporary new home for Oxford Central Library

Published 11 January 2016

Continuing work to transform the Westgate Shopping Centre in Oxford is to lead to the County Council’s Central Library temporarily moving to a nearby location.

Redevelopment work at Westgate Oxford includes the complete transformation of the front of the current library building.

The existing frontage of the Central Library will be replaced to become part of the new curving wall forming the south side of Bonn Square marking the entrance to the new Westgate Oxford.

Once complete, the new Oxford Central Library, as part of the Westgate Oxford redevelopment, will feature a new entrance foyer, refurbished and extended children’s library and new feature windows with views over Bonn Square and Castle Street. 

While this work takes place, Oxfordshire County Council and the Westgate Oxford Alliance are working together to achieve a suitable relocation for the Oxford Central Library so that it can continue to be available to the public. The proposed location for the temporary library is in the nearby Castle Quarter.

Current plans are for the Central Library within the existing Westgate Centre to close to the public on February 27, with the new smaller temporary library opening its doors at the nearby Castle Quarter at the end of March where it would be stationed for 18 months until the new Westgate Oxford opens in October 2017.

Facilities available to the public from the temporary library will include a collection of books, audio books and DVDs for adults and children. It is also expected that children’s activities and small scale reading events will be held.

Due to the size and facilities available at the site of the temporary library at the Castle Quarter, internet access, reference information, newspapers, journals and music services will not be available. However, these services will be provided at other libraries in the area. The library service’s Reference Online service and eBooks and eAudio lending services will also be available. As ever, it will be possible to renew online, through the new library app.

The period between when the existing library closes and the new, temporary library opens, will allow for staff to move the materials to the new proposed location at the Castle Quarter. During this time, all usual services will still be available across Oxfordshire’s other libraries, including those in and around the city of Oxford

Councillor Lorraine Lindsay Gale, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Cultural and Community Services, said: “We are very excited to see the progress being made at Westgate Oxford. While this means we will need to relocate the Central Library on a temporary basis as this redevelopment work continues, we are looking forward to moving the library into its new space in October 2017.

“We are looking at plans to relocate the new temporary facility to the nearby historic Oxford Castle Quarter. Although the temporary library will be smaller with some reduced services, I am sure it will provide an excellent environment for our library users and visitors to the city with all usual services still available across Oxfordshire’s other libraries, including those in and around the city of Oxford.

“We all look forward to the Central Library reopening in 2017 and continuing to be a highly popular resource right at the heart of Oxford’s city centre.”

Sara Fuge, Development Manager at Westgate Oxford Alliance, said, “We'd like to thank all local residents for their patience and cooperation as the redevelopment of the city’s west end continues and look forward to welcoming everyone to the new Westgate Oxford when it opens next year.”

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