AN HISTORIC library could be brought back into use through a £600,000 renovation project.

Bolton Council has approved the refurbishment of the former Great Lever Library for ‘community use’, though it remains unclear exactly what groups or services could be based at the Bradford Road site.

The building, which is more than 100 years old, is a Carnegie library, endowed by the 19th century American tycoon and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and later became the Great Lever Community Centre.

Another of Bolton’s Carnegie libraries, in Astley Bridge, was shut down in 2012 as part of a controversial shake-up of the borough’s library services, despite a backlash from furious campaigners who labelled the closure ‘cultural vandalism’.

Libraries in Halliwell, now the UCAN centre, and Farnworth are also Carnegie libraries.

Great Lever councillor Mohammed Iqbal says the Great Lever site could become a vital hub for residents.

He said: “The library was a Carnegie building and was also later used by a number of groups, but they are all gone now.

“We need some sort of hub in Great Lever for the community, especially because it is a deprived ward.

“We have worked with the leadership to see if we can make something out of this building. At the moment, we don’t have a full plan of what it is going to be and the first things we need to do is to secure it and bring it back up to a usable standard.

“What it will actually be used for, we aren’t completely sure.

“I know there is something similar to this in Halliwell and we want to have all kinds of services for the community based there.

“If this comes off then it will be wonderful for our community.”

A petition with more than 600 signatures was handed to the council in a bid to save the old Astley Bridge library, and campaigners held a peaceful protest after its closure was confirmed.

At a private meeting last week, council leader Cliff Morris gave his approval for the £600,000 funding for the Great Lever project, which the town hall will now put out to tender.

A council spokesman said: “The council has agreed to refurbish the former library in Great Lever for community use and we are currently in discussion with local community groups on the future of the building.”