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Community Library in Strathblane Opens!

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Fleming Buildings were delighted to be appointed to work with Strathblane Community Development Trust to deliver the first community-owned library in a generation. The Thomas Graham Community Library has opened in Strathblane.

We were appointed to deliver the new community facility which has replaced what is normally a council-funded facility. Strathblane’s old library was housed in an ageing portable cabin but was exceptionally popular, attracting 33,000 visits a year from 1500 people.

The new library is a community hub for Strathblane and the adjoining villages of Blanefield, Mugdock and Carbeth, providing social, recreational and education services to approximately 2300 residents.

The facility was designed by Thomas Robinson Architects and is with lower carbon emissions and running costs being a key consideration. This was met with a combination of systems including the installation of roof-mounted solar panels and an air-source heat pump, together with battery and thermal storage facilities, all of which is managed by a sophisticated control programme donated by a local firm. Fleming Timber Structures also designed, manufactured and erected the structure which incorporated glulam and structural timber for walls and roof.

Described as a ‘remarkable’ project by Stirling Council, the 211 square metre building has been funded entirely via personal and charitable donations – with hundreds of locals donating to a crowdfunding appeal that raised £985,000. The library is named after Professor Thomas Graham, a renowned 19th Century professor of chemistry, and the great-uncle of Angus Graham, a local landowner and businessman who was the library project’s principle donor.

The building is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Strathblane Community Development Trust (SCTD) and the library is leased and operated by Stirling Council.

Cllr Gerry McGarvey, convenor of Stirling Council’s community wellbeing and housing committee, said: “This ground-breaking partnership has resulted in the first community-owned public library to be built in Scotland in living memory. Local government finances are facing a time of constraint, but this innovative collaboration between the council and local community provides a solution that gives our libraries a bright future. It is a testimony to our joint commitment to learning and partnership work that we have such a wonderful resource now freely available to all in the Strathblane community. It will enrich the lives of all age groups and foster an even greater sense of wellbeing.”

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive of the Scottish Libraries and Information Council, added: 

“This new venue in Strathblane very much brings to life what a 21st century library should be. The collaboration between the community and Stirling Council has demonstrated it is possible to provide a future for library services through a non-traditional financial and operational model. I look forward to seeing what this innovative approach to library service delivery brings, not just to Strathblane but to the public library sector in general.”

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