Councillor Peter Buckley with Sarah Stewart, museum manager at Queen Street Mill

New library to open in historic building after eight year closure

Book lovers in Burnley could enjoy a new library service in a Victorian building which holds the world's last surviving 19th century steam powered mill.

The former Briercliffe Library has remained shut since 2016 when it and the nearby Queen Street Mill museum closed.

The museum is home to rare industrial collections including working machinery and reopened in 2018.

Now Lancashire County Council's cabinet is set to discuss proposals to re-open the library in the museum at their next meeting on Thursday (11 July).

This could mean the library will be housed in the museum’s entrance gallery, adding to existing attractions such as rare industrial artefacts and the tempting treats of the café.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for Community and Cultural Services, said: “Libraries are a vital service that provide surroundings where people can feel safe and secure, where generations of all ages can meet freely in a public place and where learning can be encouraged.

"The addition of the library to the entrance to the museum gallery would serve the whole community in Burnley and add to the value of this local, Grade I listed building which houses industrial collections of historical significance.

“Queen Street Mill is an incredible and highly important local heritage asset, allowing us to preserve the legacy of our industrial past. We hope that by moving a step closer to opening a much needed library in this historically significant building, it will allow a vital service to continue for the local community while further enhancing the status and allure of this cultural gem of national importance.”

The library plans are part of a wider proposal for  repairs to the Grade I Listed building, with cabinet members also giving the green light to an application to Arts Council England’s Museum Estate and Development (MEND) fund.  If successful, the bid would see the grant funding boosted by a contribution from the county council.

Notes to editors


The addition of a new library at Queen Street Mill will increase the total number of libraries supported within the county council's cultural services department to 65. 

All of Lancashire County Council's libraries have achieved the Libraries of Sanctuary Award for the vital role they play in supporting people who are seeking sanctuary.  The service also supports five mobile library vehicles operating across Lancashire and an extensive Digital Library including an online catalogue, eBooks and eAudiobooks plus an online Reference library.