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Temporary Thatcham Library location discussed in possible refurbishment delay

Thatcham Library is due to undergo a refurbishment and discussions are being had as to where the service can be temporarily accessed once works begin.

The building refurbishment, which was approved on February 4, will see the Bath Road facility get a new disabled-access toilet and entrance area.

The town council’s finance and general purposes committee met on April 25 to receive a note from West Berkshire Council on its plans for a temporary library space.

Thatcham Library Ref:06-3216C (46679044)
Thatcham Library Ref:06-3216C (46679044)

The new estimated timescale for work to commence is currently July of this year but in a letter to Thatcham Town Council it was proposed that the building work starts in September.

West Berkshire Council's acting culture and libraries manager Felicity Harrison stated that the delay is a bid to give children in the Thatcham area full access to the library over the summer holiday period.

It is during this period that the district council rolls out its Summer Reading Challenge (SRC) which is its “biggest and most popular promotion”.

The town council heard that it reached 16 per cent of children in West Berkshire last year making West Berkshire Council the most successful authority in the south east of England in terms of the SRC.

It was also suggested that the Thatcham Town Council chamber, where committee meetings are held, be used as a temporary accommodation for the library while the building is closed.

Town council deputy leader Owen Jeffery (Lib Dem, Thatcham Central) said: “I like the idea of the town council doing everything it possibly can to assist.” But he questioned the mechanics of temporarily moving a library into a council chamber.

The council heard that this was just one option, including increased use of the library's mobile service.

Councillors suggested a click and collect system, something that Mike Cole (Lib Dem, Thatcham North East) said the council “may be able to facilitate within the chamber”.

If agreed, this temporary movement will last for around four to five weeks.

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