New lease of life is just the ticket for library as community group takes over

Les Watson, Chair Trustee, with Coun Fay Cunningham and some of the trustees and volunteers
Les Watson, Chair Trustee, with Coun Fay Cunningham and some of the trustees and volunteers

A new community group is just the ticket for a popular library.

From mid-November, charity Boldon and Cleadon Community Library will take over the management of East Boldon Library from South Tyneside Council.

East Boldon Library will close to the public at 5pm on Friday, October 26, for some minor refurbishment.

It will re-open as ‘The Library’ at 10am on Saturday, November 17.

Coun Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: "While many areas across the country have closed their libraries in light of government cuts, here in South Tyneside we were determined to take a different approach.

"By working with our communities we have found a solution which will provide a sustainable library service for the future."

Les Watson, Chairman of Boldon and Cleadon Community Library, said: "This is an exciting time for our group. I am proud to be part of a team of volunteers who are able to play such a vital role in safeguarding library services for the future.

"While our primary focus will be to provide access to books for people of all ages, we want the library to become a hub for a whole range of educational, cultural and social activities. We firmly believe we can build on the library’s success and make it even more of an asset for the local community."

The library will be open to the public 35 hours each week, five hours longer than at present, and will be available for bookings and events outside of core opening hours.

Coun Fay Cunningham, Lead Member for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Co-operatives, said: "This is an absolute success story for South Tyneside. More than 100 people have come forward to volunteer at the library which is testament both to the Borough’s community spirit and the value of our library services.

"The group has already been successful in securing substantial grants from charitable sources and is in conversation with a number of companies and individuals to establish regular income streams.

"I would like to thank the volunteers for their determination to keep this library open. I am confident that under their management, the library will go from strength to strength."

Existing members of the library in East Boldon will still be able to use the facilities when it re-opens. They will also continue to benefit from access to other libraries in the Borough from where they will be able to reserve books. For more information, visit http://www.thelibrary.uk.com/

While the library is closed, any items on loan can either be returned to another library or returned to East Boldon when it re-opens. Fines will not be incurred if items are returned late. Anyone who has reserved an item is asked to contact The Word on (0191) 427 1818.