Council leader Councillor Barry Lewis helped to lay the specially carved stone at the site of the new Ada Belfield Centre and Belper Library in Derwent Street.
The £10 million development – which is due to open in January 2020 - includes a fully accessible public library, a community café which will also be open to the public and pedestrian links directly to the town centre.
It will replace the current library in Bridge Street and the care home which bears the same name in Field Lane, which no longer meets modern standards, and will be built to the latest dementia-friendly designs.
Councillor Lewis was joined by representatives from construction company Robertson which is building the 40-bed care centre at the former Thornton’s chocolate factory.
“I was delighted to be able to help to lay the commemorative stone to mark the building of our brand new care centre and library.
“I have a long association with Belper and this site in particular because I worked at the Thornton’s factory as a student so it brings back many happy memories.
“This factory played a key role in the industrial revolution and I am delighted that we have been able to retain its original façade which is much-loved by local people.
“The care centre and public library are going to bring huge benefits to the community and is part of our commitment to provide high quality care homes to ensure older people get the care and support they need to lead fulfilling, dignified lives.”
Previously a blouse and hosiery factory owned by the Nottingham Manufacturing Company, the site was used to store Rolls Royce engines during World War 2 before being taken over by Thornton’s.
Work on the new centre is well underway with steels being erected to form the impressive double-height entrance and the brickwork forming the wings of the care home where the residents will live overlooking a landscaped, internal courtyard.
The public library will feature interactive equipment suitable for people with dementia to enable care centre residents, as well as local people, to use the library. There will also be a local studies area, children’s space, wifi and free access to computers.
Councillor Lewis added:
“We value our library service and I know how important they are to local communities which is why we want them to work with us to help them grow, thrive and become tailor-made community hubs just like the library we are building in Belper.”