Visitor numbers to Bradford’s new City Library have almost trebled in the six months since it opened its doors following a £9m project to move it to City Park and convert the old library to offices.
The new site, in the former Bradford 1 Gallery in City Park, opened in December last year, after the previous building closed in October 2011.
The old Central Library was forced to shut after it was deemed a fire risk by health and safety chiefs.
The project cost £9 million in total, of which £8 million was spent on the Central Library building to make it safe and convert it to offices and conference space for council staff.
Now, visitor figures for the first quarter have shown the Centenary Square site is proving popular with city bookworms.
In December last year visitor figures were 7,205, in January 18,271, February 15,300 and March 20,761.
West Yorkshire Archives, which is not run by Bradford Council, has seen a 36 per cent rise in visitor numbers.
Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council’s executive member for culture, says visitor numbers have been impressive for the site. “I'm really pleased that the investment we’ve made in the City Library services is starting to pay off,” she said. “Visitor numbers are increasing all the time.
“The increase in numbers so far is remarkable. That’s a really good and quick increase and we really want to build on that. It’s early days but bodes well for the future.
“It’s particularly busy during school holidays when we have a lot of families visiting City Park, the library location is ideally placed looking over the Mirror Pool.”
The new library holds 60,000 books, 40 computers, a range of newspapers and study space.
Dr Christine Alvin, chairman of the Friends of Bradford Archives and Local Studies Group, a group formed after concerns were raised about how difficult it was to access the archives after Central Library closed, said the new building is giving the city a vital boost. “I think it’s a wonderful building,” she said. “The library is great for the city. It’s busy and buzzing.
“It’s a tremendous asset for the city of Bradford.”