The main library in Reading is set to be sold and converted into a site for dozens of new flats.

Reading Central Library has stood for 39 years after being opened in 1985.

Recently, it has been used as a venue for an arts exhibition, and two years ago it was the scene of commotion when protesters infiltrated a Drag Queen Story Hour event for children.

Now the site is set to be sold and converted into housing.

Reading Borough Council is seeking to sell the existing Central Library after it won £19.164 million from a Levelling Up Fund (LUF) grant.

The funding is being used to establish a new library at the Civic Offices in Bridge Street.

A council document states: "LUF was secured for a ‘new’ Reading Library to replace and relocate the current central library at Kings Road to Reading’s Civic Offices in Bridge Street to ‘inspire residents, boost literacy rates and create a hub for support services, while releasing land for new homes'.

"The bid document states that ‘a further 46 new homes will be enabled in King
Road by relocating the existing Reading library’ and goes on to say that the land of the existing library site will provide land for up to 50 homes (estimate 46) and associated public realm improvements."

The current Central Library site is one of around 20 sites identified for development in the council's Local Plan Partial Update process.

A briefing document to the council's policy committee states the existing building is more likely to be converted into housing rather than replaced with a purpose-built apartment block.

Charan Dhillon the council's  Assistant Director of Property and Assets
Management, the author of the document, wrote: "Although the LUF bid document also refers to the demolition of Central Library building to make way for the 46 new homes and help address the housing shortage in Reading, it
is now recognised that it may not be possible to demolish it given the potential
archaeological implications associated with any excavations on this site.

"Additionally, valuation advice has been sought and the advice places a higher value on upwards extension and retention of the existing building, which would also have the benefit of reducing embodied carbon.

"What the market dictates is the best value for the site will not be certain until marketing commences."

The council's policy committee is being asked to approval the disposal of the Central Library site. The committee will make a decision at a meeting on Monday, June 10.

The sale of the Library will mean three current occupants must vacate. Berkshire Family History Society will exit before December, as it is understood the society will relocate to Battle Library.

Meanwhile, REDA, the economy and destination agency, and Reading Voluntary Action must leave by December as well. Sustrans, the active travel charity, has already vacated.