Congresbury Parish Council celebrates handover of village library to community

PUBLISHED: 14:07 14 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

A village library which faced reduced opening times and staffing levels has officially been handed to the parish council, which will now lead the service with a team of volunteers.

A village library which faced reduced opening times and staffing levels has officially been handed to the parish council, which will now lead the service with a team of volunteers.

Congresbury Community Library, in Station Road, opened this month under the stewardship of Congresbury Parish Council – which stepped in to take on the facility after a North Somerset Council cost-cutting review.

The handover of the service was celebrated on Saturday, with villagers and councillors marking the occasion with a well-attended coffee morning.

Changes to library services in North Somerset were agreed after the council conducted its community access review, which examined money-saving options from its portfolio of libraries and children’s centres.

Many libraries across the district will now operate with reduced opening times or staffless openings.

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 it hopes to encourage more villagers to use the 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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