Community takes control of village library after cost-cutting review

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 July 2017

Andy Brisley Head of Libraries in North Somerset handing over the key of the library to Parish Council chairman Diana Hassan.

Andy Brisley Head of Libraries in North Somerset handing over the key of the library to Parish Council chairman Diana Hassan.

Archant

The keys to a village library have been handed to Congresbury Parish Council this month after it opted to take control of the service from the local authority.

Congresbury Community Library, in Station Road, opened this month under the control of the parish council.

Villagers gathered in numbers for a coffee morning at the library on July 8, with representatives from North Somerset on hand to officially seal the handover.

The library faced an uncertain future after the district council conducted a cost-cutting survey, where it assessed how it could consolidate library and children’s centres to save money.

Other libraries across the district will now operate with staffless openings, or have moved to different sites.

But instead Congresbury Parish Council stepped in and offered to take control of the service, which has been welcomed by the council’s executive member responsible for libraries Felicity Baker, who believes the shift to community management is a ‘positive move’ and will lead to ‘greater community involvement in our local libraries’.

She added: “We welcome the support of the parish council and the volunteers and wish them every success in continuing to provide library services in the village.”

Parish council chairman Diana Hassan said the authority hopes it can now encourage more villagers to use library.

She said: “The parish council is supporting the community library as it considers it is important that village facilities, such as libraries, are maintained because they foster community spirit and make communities more sustainable.

“The parish council and the community have worked closely with North Somerset Library Service over the past seven years with a team of volunteers assisting the librarians and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the library staff we have had contact with.

“The support they have provided has given us the confidence to take on this community project.

“Our aim is to encourage more residents to become regular library users and also use the building as a venue for a range of community events. Congresbury library is now your community library.”

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