Spaces in Hove Library will be put up for let this spring in a bid to raise money to keep the library running in its purpose-built Victorian building.
Plans to relocate the library to Hove Museum were scrapped last year following a successful campaign led by former councillor Christopher Hawtree and Green and Conservative councillors.
However, the building remains expensive to maintain and the council is now trying to find new ways of using the space in a cost-effective manner.
A marketing exercise is due to begin this spring to advertise potential new public and commercial spaces in Hove Library. The council says the extra cash this could create would be used to help safeguard the future of the building as a public library.
Councillor Alan Robins, who chairs the council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee, said: “Hove Library is a much-loved historic building but expensive to run. We need to explore how to generate more income to help cover the rising costs of Hove Library so we can keep providing modern library services to communities across the city.
“The ideas put forward so far not only generate income but also give a new lease of life for Hove Library and extra facilities for the community.”
A public exhibition of income-generating ideas was held at Hove Library earlier in the year. And 72 per cent of comments at the exhibition were in support of the pilot project to host a new study space for British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) students.
Suggested by the students, this collaboration between the council and BIMM will encourage traditional library use by local students. Existing study spaces for non BIMM students will continue in new areas of the building. Study support will be provided but no music practice will take place in Hove Library itself.
The idea of a new café integrated into the main library area, where library users would be able to browse, read and relax in comfort, was supported by 67 per cent of people who gave comments. 77 per cent also supported the idea of developing the basement area, currently not in public use, into a new commercial space such as an office, nursery or café.
The council has said that it is open to any ideas if they are appropriate and suitable for the building and do not disrupt its primary use as a public library.
All the proposed ideas have received cross-party support through the joint working group for Hove Library.
You can find out more about Hove Library and continue to offer your views and ideas on the website brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/leisure-and-libraries/libraries/future-hove-library.