AN asbestos scare has closed Hereford library.

Herefordshire Council's Cabinet was this afternoon told the library and museum on Broad Street will remain closed for 12 weeks for “remedial works and improvements”.

Cabinet member Cllr Graham Powell said contractors had found traces of asbestos earlier today.

A council statement said: “In the interest of public and staff safety, Herefordshire Council have made the decision to temporarily close Hereford Library and Museum with effect from today, due to the discovery of trace levels of asbestos found in the building as a result of planned building work due to take place at the site.

"The building will be closed for an initial twelve-week period, while the remedial works and improvements to the site are conducted. Air samples had showed there were no airborne particles of asbestos, however trace amounts were found on surfaces near the oldest parts of the buildings’ structure.

"Herefordshire Council would like to stress that the risk of contamination is minimal, however it is important we take risk seriously and take the appropriate action to safeguard our staff and customers.”

The Health and Safety Executive has been informed.

Outside groups who use the building will be contacted.

Posters have been put up on entrance doors telling the public the library is closed "due to health and safety reasons".