Bradford Central Library could reopen as early as this summer if £2 million repairs are given the go ahead by councillors, the Telegraph & Argus can reveal.
It brings to an end months of uncertainty after the eight-floor building which closed last year after being identified as a fire risk.
The T&A exclusively reported last October that emergency work had to be carried out to make the central staircase safe because, in its former state, it would act as a makeshift flue in the event of a blaze.
Now, it is understood, a decision has been made to make all the public library floors, including those housing the meeting rooms and the archives, safe to bring them back into public use.
The initial estimated £4 million bill is expected to be halved because the work will not take place on the top floors which are only accessible to Bradford Council employees. Other measures will be put in place to ensure their safety.
Since last autumn the public have only had access to the ground and first floors with many groups, including Bradford Family History Society, forced to move elsewhere.
It is understood options, including moving the library, were shelved because the floors have to be strengthened to take the weight of books, and the Central Library was built for that purpose. Money to repair the library, including sealing off more of the staircase to make it fire safe, would need to be taken from the reserve fund of the Council, but it is not known when the bid for that will take place. Councillor Dave Green, the Council’s executive member for culture, said a final decision about the building will be made by the Council next week.
He said: “We have been working extremely hard to come up with viable options for the future of the library service and are expecting to be in a position to make a definitive statement on the future of the Central Library at full Council on Tuesday.”
He had said that a number of buildings were being looked at as alternatives.
He had said: “It is not just simply finance, we need to know whether other buildings are stable and built in such a way can support several tons of books. I am hoping there is a clear option being put to us, as we can't carry on with the current situation. The sooner we make a decision the better.”