July 19, 2022 3.42 pm This story is over 23 months old

Lincoln Ermine library reopens after two-year closure

A series of unfortunate events led to the closure

Lincoln’s Ermine Library and Community Hub in Lincoln has finally opened after two years of closure.

The hub has been taken over by Bishop Grosseteste University and residents were able to visit from 9am on Tuesday.

The news was announced by Lincolnshire County Council’s Library and Heritage Client Lead Louise Ergan, who said: “This will be great news to a lot of the communities out there.”

Councillors were also given their annual report into the county’s libraries as a whole.

The Ravendale Drive site was previously run by Learning Communities who went into administration in 2017.

Operation was taken on temporarily by Greenwich Leisure Limited until COVID restrictions came into force in March 2020 when it closed.

Unfortunately, due to COVID measures Greenwich has had to reassign staff to its own core sites since lockdown was lifted, meaning the Ermine was the only site not to have reopened in some form.

Inside the library. | Photo: Lincolnshire County Council

BGU were announced to be taking over the centre in November, 2021.

Councillors were told, however, that prior to it reopening the centre needed refurbishment work prior to handing over to BGU, including completely new heating and cooling systems.

Conservative Councillor Lindsey Cawrey, Lincolnshire County Council’s executive councillor for cultural services, said the work put to bed “any doubts about the passion, enthusiasm and care, with which our colleagues… deliver those library services”.

“Ermine was one of those situations where you worked incredibly hard but circumstances beyond your control meant it was only today could we get it open. We wanted to do it sooner.

“We want to make sure that all those benefits our communities across this huge county enjoy can be enjoyed in Ermine.”

There are PCs available for use. | Photo: Lincolnshire County Council

Not all councillors were totally positive, however.

Labour ward councilor Karen Lee praised the opening of the hub and said “officers have worked really hard” on getting it done.

However, she criticised the length of time it had taken and said large reserves held by the council could have been used to hire more officers to ensure it was delivered “in a timely manner”.

“It is an exciting and wonderful announcement but actually, it should have happened a very, very long time ago,” she said.

The children’s area. | Photo: Lincolnshire County Council

The library includes a large children’s library, two public access computers, and free wi-fi throughout the building

As with all hubs and core libraries, books and other items taken out somewhere else can be returned to Ermine, and vice versa

The service is also looking to relaunch community activities and events, including a ‘Knit and Natter’ group that previously used the hub.

Allison Webb, Head of Careers, Employability and Enterprise at BGU said: “An official launch event is being planned for later this year and we’re currently developing a wide range of partnerships and services to allow the hub to be a collaborative space developed with and for the community.”

“If you are interested in learning more or becoming a volunteer, please drop in and see us during opening hours for a friendly chat.”