I’m pleased to report that the ongoing refurbishment of Lisburn Road Library is on schedule and is due to reopen later in the summer. The plans for the Library include an extensive £1.5 million refurbishment and redevelopment and the increase of publicly usable space and further accessibility improvements.
Of course this part of the Lisburn Road is a conservation area and I have confirmed with Libraries NI that expert advice from planning and conservation experts has been incorporated into the redevelopment plans to ensure that the work will maintain the architectural merit of the building and the heritage of the area.
Unfortunately, the crisis in the Assembly is however causing Libraries and all other public services difficulties. As a result, the Board of Libraries NI, of which I am a member, have reluctantly agreed a spending plan for 2017/18, based on an indicative allocation which is 5% less than the baseline budget for last year.
This reduction will impact across all areas of spending, including stock, staff and maintenance, and unhappily will also mean a reduction in opening hours. Planning for this is still in an early phase and I will naturally keep residents informed as to any impact on their local branches.
In the meantime, the branches closest to the Lisburn Road branch will continue to operate as normal.
If you have any questions, please contact them on:
Finaghy Library (38B Finaghy Road South, BT10 0DR), telephone: 028 9050 9214
Ormeau Road Library (247 Ormeau Road, BT7 3GG), telephone: 028 9050 9228
Suffolk Library (Stewartstown Road, BT11 9JP), telephone: 028 9050 9235.