Whitburn Library to close for a month during takeover by community group

A South Tyneside library will close for a month as a new community group takes over the running of the facility from the council.

Monday, 4th March 2019, 10:04 am
Updated Monday, 4th March 2019, 10:12 am
Friends of Whitburn Library secretary Marilyn Harding and chairman Rory Thomson with Coun Fay Cunningham.
Friends of Whitburn Library secretary Marilyn Harding and chairman Rory Thomson with Coun Fay Cunningham.

Whitburn Library is the last of the borough’s branch libraries to be transferred to a community group, with the Friends of Whitburn Library managing the facility from next month.

The library will cease to be run by the council at 7pm on Thursday, March 7 and close while some alterations are made to the building, computers are reconfigured, the library is decorated and volunteers are trained.

It will re-open under the management of the Friends of Whitburn Library at 9.30am on Saturday, April 6 with an open day and various activities.

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The library will be open to the public for 25 hours a week which is an increase of 1.5 hours on existing opening times. It will open on Saturday mornings and be available for bookings and events outside of core opening hours.

Rory Thomson, chairman of Friends of Whitburn Library, said “In an ideal world, libraries would be council operated and council funded. However, in light of year-on-year cuts from central government, I appreciate that the council has had to look at news ways of providing services and I am very excited that we have achieved the next best thing.

“Working in partnership with South Tyneside Council enables us to maintain the comprehensive library service for Whitburn with the opportunity to expand and enhance the services on offer, while promoting the heritage of the village for the benefit of the community.

“We will, however, be reliant on the ongoing support from the community to ensure the success and future of the library."

All the regular community group activities such as baby bounce, story tots and knit and natter will resume when the library re-opens in April.

The transfer is the last in a series of moves which have seen libraries in the Borough taken over by community groups. Primrose Library is now run by Perth Green Community Association, local charity Boldon and Cleadon Community Library has taken over the management of East Boldon Library and Action Station South Tyneside has taken over the running of Boldon Lane Library.

Councillor Fay Cunningham, lead member for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Co-operatives, said: “I would like to place on record my heartfelt thanks to this community group and all the others who have stepped up to take over the running of these valuable community facilities.

“We recognise how prized our library services are which is why it is fantastic that we have been able to keep open all our branch libraries while investing in new facilities at The Word, Jarrow Focus and Hebburn Central.

“I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to work with our local communities to find a solution to make library services sustainable for future generations.”

Anyone who feels they can help or support the new group is asked to contact [email protected]