East Lancs library service could get new lease of life in historic building after eight year closure

Book lovers in Burnley could enjoy a new library service in a Victorian building which holds the world's last surviving 19th Century steam powered mill.

The former Briercliffe Library has remained shut since 2016 when it and the nearby Queen Street Mill museum closed.

The museum is home to rare industrial collections including working machinery  and reopened in 2018.

Now Lancashire County Council's cabinet is set to discuss proposals to re-open the library in the museum at their next meeting on Thursday (11 July).

This could mean the library will be housed in the museum’s entrance gallery, adding to existing attractions such as rare industrial artefacts and the tempting treats of the café.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for Community and Cultural Services, said: “The addition of the library to the entrance to the museum gallery would serve the whole community in Burnley and add to the value of this local, Grade I listed building which houses industrial collections of historical significance.

“Queen Street Mill is an incredible and highly important local heritage asset, allowing us to preserve the legacy of our industrial past.

"We hope that by moving a step closer to opening a much-needed library in this historically significant building, it will allow a vital service to continue for the local community while further enhancing the status and allure of a momentous cultural gem of national importance.”

The library plans are part of a wider proposal for  repairs to the Grade I Listed building, with cabinet members also giving the green light to an application to Arts Council England’s Museum Estate and Development (MEND) fund.  If successful, the bid would see the grant funding boosted by a contribution from the county council.

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