Future of Hove Library

The council needs to reduce its costs by £51 million over the next three years. This means Library services will need to make its contribution to these savings estimated at over half a million pounds.hove library

Hove Library is a much loved historic building, but is expensive to run. The age and design of the building also means it will need more investment to maintain it in future.

In order to keep providing modern library services that you use and love, we need to find new ways of generating income. These are the ideas so far and we want to know what you think.  

Idea 1: Partnership with BIMM

BIMM, the British and Irish Modern Music Institute, contacted us to see whether Hove Library could become the new base for library provision for their students this academic year.

They would only need a small part of the building, which could be in the first floor reading room. BIMM are looking for dedicated space for BIMM students, Wi-Fi access, with quiet study booths for around 14-16 students, core text books and reference resources, and support from library staff to help with research methods and finding materials.

BIMM have agreed to pay a fee for these services, and are willing to pilot the arrangement from January, for the remaining two terms of this academic year, so we can see if the idea works. If this is successful, it could become a longer term contract, and help Hove Library become a centre for learning, increasing both income and use of the building.

Idea 2: Develop a café and possible retail space

The library could have a café and possible retail space on the ground floor in the open plan area. This is well suited to a small operator such as those with a community focus.

We believe there’s demand for this in the market, and from charitable operators. It would also be possible for the café space to be integrated into the ground floor reading spaces with minor costs.

It would also be possible for the council to consider running the concession itself to potentially generate more income.

Idea 3: Commercial development of the basement

The basement could be used for commercial letting such as a nursery or office space. Work would be required to improve access and make it suitable for letting. We have not yet explored costs for this work.

The basement is currently under used and not a public area. Bringing the basement into use gives more opportunities for generating income with minimal impact on public use of the library.  A small amount of staff office and rest room space would need to be identified elsewhere in the building to compensate the loss of space.

A plan of Hove Library showing the areas affected by these ideas can be seen here.

Next steps:

We are currently seeking co-location opportunities and expressions of interest from the market to see what the level of demand is, before developing proposals further. Various charities may express an interest in taking spaces at a low or reduced cost, so any marketing will make clear the need for revenue generating occupants.

Depending on the preferred course of action, the requirements of works, planning permissions, marketing, evaluation and legal work, the soonest revenue could be reasonably generated would be 6 months or more.

Tell us what you think:

We would like to know what you think of these three ideas and whether you have other ideas. Please email us libraries@brighton-hove.gov.uk with your comments or suggestions.