The future of a library in South Tyneside is looking bright after volunteers were given the go-ahead to run the service.
East Boldon Library Group has won their bid to run East Boldon Library, in Boker Lane, after council chiefs announced last year they would no longer be able to afford to keep it open.
The library must be able to provide the kind of services that work for everyone who want to use it. It is important that we find out what the local residents wantJackie Watson
The voluntary group stepped into to answer the call by the local authority in a last ditch attempt to ensure the future of library services. Other libraries earmarked for closure as part of a review of services included Boldon Lane, Primrose and Whitburn.
East Boldon Library will now be run by volunteers who aim to provide library and other community services at the building.
The group is now calling on people to step forward and help them to shape the library for future generations.
An open morning will be held on Saturday January 27 from 10am until noon so people can find out more about the plans for the future.
Volunteer Jackie Watson said: “It’s important that local people are involved in helping to make the idea a success. The morning will provide an important opportunity to find out more about how this will work and if you haven’t used the library before then why not come along and see what is available.
“The library must be able to provide the kind of services that work for everyone who want to use it. It is important that we find out what the local residents want”
A children’s learning activity pack will be handed out to youngsters coming to the library with story-telling sessions arranged at 10.15am for those aged three and four-years-old and 10.45am for those aged five to seven-years-old.
Coun David Townsley who has been vocal over the need to keep the library open said: “We are where we are. Due to the stringent cuts the council us unable to run the library.
“Branch libraries, in particular East Boldon, are important places. They are not just places where people go to borrow books, but where the community comes together, where people can access support and information, a place where they can go and see a familiar and friendly face and in some respects, it helps to combat social isolation.
“We now need to look at working with the community and the local authority to find a sustainable way to keep the library open, looking at other models to see where they have succeeded and to recruit enough volunteers to deliver the services and that those volunteers are supported.”
Coun Nancy Maxwell, lead member for voluntary sector partnerships and cooperatives at South Tyneside Council, said: “We are delighted that local people are stepping up to the challenge of helping to protect our valuable community assets and ensuring they have a sustainable long term future.
“We would urge local residents to get involved and help make East Boldon Library Group’s exciting plans a reality.”