Corby's community-run Danesholme library starts new chapter

Cash-strapped Northamptonshire County Council handed over control to the volunteers yesterday

Friday, 13th March 2020, 10:15 am

The county's latest library to be handed over into community control has opened its doors to customers for the first time yesterday (Thursday).

Volunteers at Danesholme Library in Corby will now take over running the service, initially providing staff for the one-day-a-week opening.

Taking over the lease from Northamptonshire County Council is the Danesholme Communicare committee who will pay a peppercorn rent to Corby Council which owns the premises.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

l-r Chris Stanbra and Anne Lovely

Chris Stanbra, who is one of the 10 volunteers taking the reins for the first time today, said: "I'm happy, excited, nervous and worried, but mainly happy.

"It's taken a while and I'd like it to become a vibrant well-run library with loads of activities and opening longer on more days.

"Danesholme Library is unique. It's not just a place to borrow books, it's a place for residents to ask advice. It's a community hub and a place that people feel safe."

The group has taken on a five-year lease and has ambitions to open on extend opening to Fridays as well as the current Thursdays and potentially Saturdays.

The library

Books and computers will still be provided by the Northamptonshire Library Service with volunteers providing the staff.

Anne Lovely, strategic manager at Northamptonshire Library Service, handed over the keys to Mr Stanbra who accepted them on behalf of the volunteers.

He said: "We're happy to be supporting the library and we will be supplying training, books and the computer systems.

"In one of our consultations one lady described this library as a 'little gem' and the group running it are really passionate."

Noel France

Volunteer Noel France said: "I think it's so important for kids to have access to books and it's important for our community - holding a physical book in your hands and learning to read is vital. It's more vital than Netflix."

Joan Gault, who used to work for the library service and campaigned to keep Danesolme Library open, said: "I fought to keep this library open. I just did not want it to shut so I stepped in.

"It's a community library and lots of older people come in for a chat because it's small, it's a very friendly library.

"We get lots of people who come here because parking is free and drop books off here rather than in town.

Danesholme Library

"I'd say use it or lose it."

Income to cover the £3,000 to £4,000 rent will be generated by fines, printing, photocopying and reservation fees, selling donated books and providing teas and coffees for library users.

Mr Stanbra added: "We will be selling decent quality books and ideally after people have read them they will re-donate them to the library to sell again.

"We will also accept cash donations and if anyone wants to fundraise for us then they can come and see us.

"I would encourage people to get involved, use the library and come and volunteer.

"If anyone would like to help run the library as a volunteer they should call in on a Thursday afternoon when it is open or email me at [email protected]"

l-r Shirley Bird (great grandma) Rhys Martin, 3, and Jane Martin (grandma)
Joan Gaunt, and Noel France receive training from Jill Barber (centre)