'Fantastic news' as Finedon library saved by community volunteers
Community campaigners who have been working to keep Finedon's library open have welcomed the decision by the town council to fund the facility.
The library's future had been in doubt after cash-strapped Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) announced the planned reduction of the county's library service.
Located in the Finedon Town Hall, library volunteers organised by the Friends of Finedon Community Library had been providing staff for three out of four days.
Jenny Asbery, secretary of Finedon Community Library, said: "It's fantastic news and it's great for all the young families and all the people who use it.
"The funding is really important. It has given us a year to build up some funds to pay for the running costs."
Library users were glad to hear that it was business as usual. The library hosts weekly term-time children's events including Play and Learn, Rhymetime on a Thursday, and a Friday after-school craft club.
Katie Warwick, who was attending the play and learn session with her two-year-old son, Jacob, said: "I'm absolutely thrilled. Since we moved here four years ago the library has given me the opportunity to meet the other local mums and use the toys and books."
Also attending was mum-of-three Kirsty Froom with daughter Isabella, two.
She said: "On Saturday mornings I come in with my other children, Zoe and Jack who are ten and six, and they swap their books. It's a real community."
Job seeker Charlotte Wilson-Smith was using the library's free WiFi and computer to help her contact the job centre in Wellingborough.
She said: "I've come to use the internet to apply for a job as a cleaner or in catering. If the library wasn't here I would have to walk into Wellingborough because it would cost me £4.30 on the bus and I don't want to use all the data on my phone.
"To have the library saved is absolutely fantastic news."
Renamed Finedon Community Library, the handover from NCC control is expected to take place at the start of the financial year in April.
The service agreement will see books and the computer system part of the deal.
Gillian Deakin has been borrowing at least two books a week from the library since she moved to the town 23 years ago.
She said: "I love books and I'm really pleased that the library has been saved. It's been worrying for a couple of years."
A spokesman for Finedon Town Council said: "Finedon Town Council are pleased to announce that they have agreed to enter into a lease with Wellingborough Council to enable the library in Finedon to remain open.
"The [Finedon] Council have also agreed to pay the rental due on the lease for its duration as well as the property costs of the library for the first year.
"Finedon Library will be run by the community group, Friends of Finedon Library, under a service agreement with Northants County Council. With the town council’s assistance, the library should now be on a firm footing for the future.
"It is hoped that residents will continue to use their library and support the Friends of Finedon Library and its volunteers in every way possible."
The Friends of Finedon Community Library will host their annual general meeting at the library on Saturday, February 29, starting at 12 noon.
Mrs Asbery added: "I would like to thank chairman Les Martin and Judy Martin, lead coordinator. For them it's been a real labour of love and they have been fundamental in the project.
We would like people who would like to join the committee, or anyone who can volunteer to fill in the four-hour shift we would love them to come along
"Get involved. It's the heart of the community and not just all about books If people don't support it we will lose it."