Village library safe for now

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ASSURANCES have been given over the short-term future of a north Northumberland village library, a county councillor has said.

Coun Glen Sanderson, ward member for Chevington with Longhorsley, told the Gazette that he feels ‘quite happy’ to say that the facility in Hadston will be safe in the immediate term.

But he admits the biggest battle is moving the service forward.

He said: “As far as I am concerned, there are no plans to close the library in Hadston now, having had meetings with officers at an early stage. I think that I have had the assurances that I need that Hadston will be okay. I am hopeful that we can certainly work for the secure future in the short-term.

He added: “The main battle is to ensure that we nurture all the libraries in the places that need extra help and support (and) I put the Hadston one firmly there.

“My worry is that we provide the ongoing support and motivational skills to help volunteers run the library and provide the stock to make it an interesting place for people to visit.

“We want to see real motivation and enthusiasm coming from the county council, not just making libraries the place to read books, but also making them places to come and meet people and spend some social time together.” The future of Amble library has also been discussed.

At a meeting of Amble Town Council, Coun Robert Arckless told members that he and town council chairman Leslie Bilboe had attended a joint meeting of the Alnwick and Berwick Library Consultative Committees to consider a report on a review of the county libraries last year.

In a report, Coun Arckless said that despite the financial challenges, there are no proposals to close libraries this year.

“It was a very positive meeting,” he said. “There are no proposals to cut the static libraries at all. What is being proposed is each of the fixed libraries should be looked at in turn with a focus of what will work best in each community.”

He said that the aims were to encourage more people to use libraries by making the facilities more attractive and more receptive to visitors.

He added that in the case of the library in Amble, which is used by 28 per cent of the town’s population, the way forward might be to bring in other services on the site.

Coun Arckless told members that Amble library is to be considered and possibilities will be explored.