Village volunteers to save library

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 25 May 2010

VILLAGE leaders in Congresbury have offered to pay thousands of pounds in a last-ditch effort to save their library.

VILLAGE leaders in Congresbury have offered to pay thousands of pounds in a last-ditch effort to save their library.

The parish council says it will give £3,500 to train volunteers to staff the Old School Rooms book bank.

The authority also wants to use the scheme to create a meeting place for the village.

Parish council chairman Pete Sewell said: "We want to get together a small team of people who from September will assist the council staff in running it.

"This can act as a springboard to produce somewhere that you can get out a book, sit down, have a cup of coffee and see friends."

Their resolution at Monday night's parish council meeting came a week after North Somerset Council announced it may rethink its plan to close the facility.

It would see the sum being paid as a one-off this year while volunteers have the chance to be trained.

Cllr Sewell said that 'five or six' people have already expressed an interest in helping out.

He added: "This commitment backs the strength of feeling in the village and we believe the initial reaction from people suggests this will be a success.

"North Somerset Council has shown an interest in the offer and we hope they will accept it."

The volunteers will help the library to carry on operating for 15 hours each week on the existing pattern of opening hours.

Congresbury's representative on North Somerset Council, Green party councillor Tom Leimdorfer, presented the plan to the community services policy and scrutiny panel working group on Tuesday.

The unitary authority's plan to close Congresbury, Banwell and Backwell libraries were met with anger among villagers when it was announced in September.

At the time, executive member for internal organisation, tourism and leisure services, Felicity Baker, said the council needed to close the buildings to save £30,000 per year.

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