BUILDING work has finally started on the borough’s longest-awaited library - around 20 years after funding was first secured.
The doors to Brinsworth’s new £230,000 library are due to open in November after the first sod was cut last week at the site.
Parish council chairman Cllr Alan Buckley said the chance to replace the current library - a wooden hut donated to the village from Wath in 1975 - had been “a long time coming”.
He said the parish council had been awarded a £124,800 community grant “around 15 to 20 years ago” from the building companies involved in the then new Field View estate.
Cllr Buckley said a number of setbacks - from austerity biting to plans to house the library in the new village community hub, The Centre, being shelved - had caused the delays.
And as libraries have to be provided by the local authority, the proposed facility could not be housed in the National Lottery-funded The Centre.
Instead, the library will be just a stone’s throw away, with concrete steps being installed for easy access between the two.
Rotherham Borough Council has also awarded £105,200 to the parish council to help fund the new library.
Cllr Buckley added: “After a lot of deliberations, we decided to build it as an extension onto our existing pavilion, which is currently used for community activities and backs onto Field View.”
He said the library would be slightly bigger than the existing one, with capacity for more books, computers and activities.
Cllr Buckley called the nearly two-decade delay “frustrating” and revealed the parish council had been close to losing the £124,800 grant after it had been left unspent for so long.
“We wanted something that was going to be right for the community,” he added.
“It has taken a little while and there’s been a number of obstacles put in our way, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and come November it will be up and running.”
Rotherham Borough Council is currently reviewing its library services and former mayor Cllr Buckley said he expected Brinsworth’s new site to be run by volunteers by around 2023.
He said there was a “real buzz” about the new addition and volunteers had already come forward, which would mean the new library could increase its opening hours.