Volunteers secure future of Lechlade Library
THE future of Lechlade Library has been safeguarded by an army of volunteers, after fears a lack of funding would force services to wind down.
The group of 40 volunteers will officially take over the day-to-day running of the library on November 1, after Gloucestershire County Council withdraws support at the end of the month.
Councillor Susan Coakley, chair of Friends of Lechlade Library, said it would be a success story for the community of Lechlade. “It will be a library run by the community for the community,” she said.
The library is set to open for 18 hours a week and volunteers hope to extend the opening hours further in the new year. The library, which is currently operated by paid council staff, is open for 17 hours a week at present.
The library will receive a grant of £10,000 a year from Gloucestershire County Council, who will remain responsible for the structure of the building, but will no longer provide any staff. Cllr Coakley said the grant would not be enough. “We will continue our fundraising efforts within the community,” she said.
Lechlade Town Council has also provided a grant of £6,000. “It has made a huge difference,” she added. “The town council has been very supportive.”
The volunteers have already received training in routine library tasks, such as issuing and discharging books. “Our volunteers have been wonderful,” she said. “We could not do it without them.” The library will be undergoing a makeover before it re-opens its doors on November 2. This will include the installation of a new carpet, four additional computers and a tourist information area. “We are hoping to make the library more welcoming,” said Susan.
Volunteer Molly Kent said the library is at the heart of the community. “We are a very caring little town and the library is so important for the children,” she said. “There are also a lot of elderly people who would not be able to travel to use another library.”