Barrow Library improvement scheme

Cumbria County Council is investing £ 1.2m to upgrade Barrow Library and improve the community facilities. 

Works are scheduled to be completed in September 2020.

This scheme will reconfigure the library and archive building in Barrow, by opening up the existing archive and local studies element of the property and making improvements to the upstairs space. 

This includes the installation of a Changing Places toilet on the ground floor, multi-purpose community rooms and installation of additional fire exits to allow full access to the upper floor of Barrow Library.

This work will enable the whole building to be fully used, with approximately 200 square metres of currently unusable space becoming available upstairs.  

As part of this overall offer a community development centre could also be accommodated in the building and there would be the potential to offer space to partner organisations who work with similar communities and groups who wish to be part of this hub.


November 2019.
The county council has appointed Thomas Armstrong as the main contractor for the project and will be commencing works on 2 December 2019.  This project is scheduled to be completed in September 2020

The library and archives service will remain open with business as usual throughout most of the building works. 

The building will need to be closed for approximately 1 week towards the end of the works programme, to enable the contractor to finish mechanical and electrical works. 

There will inevitably be some disruption during the refurbishment works and we will be working with the contractor to minimise this as much as possible. 

We thank you for your patience and understanding during this period.

The following construction works will be completed as part of the scheme:

Ground Floor

  • installation of a Changing Places toilet and modifications to existing customer WCs to increase capacity of units
  • installation of a mother and baby room
  • new opening into the archives from the library allowing the service to be more visible 
  • installation of a large multi-purpose meeting room with small kitchenette to allow for community events and Council use  
  • installation of new passenger lift to allow easy use for wheelchairs and pushchairs
  • installation of a new dumb waiter to allow books to be easily transferred from basement to upper floors 
  • creation of 2 multi-purpose meeting rooms.

First Floor

  • new fire exit leading from large multi-use events room
  • installation of new kitchen facilities off the events room 
  • installation of public toilets allowing large events to be accommodated on the first floor
  • modifications to the staff work room area including installation of a kitchenette allowing the former kitchen to be used as an additional fire exit
  • installation of 2 meeting rooms for internal Cumbria County Council use.

Design drawing - ground floor (PDF 428KB)

Design drawing - first floor (PDF 364KB)