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New chapter begins for Ingleton and Bentham libraries
9:00am Sunday 30th September 2012 in News
Liz Farmer, Karen Allsopp, Mary Whitfield, Carl Lis, John Frankland and Jayne Lis at Ingleton Library
Two Craven libraries have opened new chapters in their history, thanks to their local communities.
Residents rallied round and both facilities are thriving, with opening hours being extended.
At Ingleton, the library – situated in the community centre – has had its opening hours increased to 40 per week.
Jayne Lis, community centre manager, said: “We wanted to provide this service, but we did not want to get rid of all the staff.”
Under the new agreement with the county council, the library will be staffed 15 hours a week and Mrs Lis, who is employed by Ingleton Parish Council, will cover the remaining 25 hours.
“There has been such a wealth of local support to keep it open,” said Mrs Lis. “Because it’s a village, we all work together. It’s important that the children have somewhere to go. The whole ethos of the library is for education.
“We do a reading group for children and an after school club. It’s our way of filling that gap and encouraging new users.”
Mrs Lis stressed the importance of libraries to small communities.
“You cannot replicate the services that a library provides, especially in a rural area,” she added. “We need these kinds of services.”
To celebrate the library’s retention, staff will hold an open day on Monday, October 22 from 2pm to 7pm.
Just down the road, a new group, the Friends of Bentham Library, was officially launched last Wednesday.
It has already delivered increased opening hours and a new homework club and further developments could be achieved with more volunteers.
The launch was attended by Coun Cliff Trotter, chairman of North Yorkshire County Council, local county councillor David Ireton, Bentham Town Council chairman and committee member Thomas Marshall and local author and manager of Long Preston ’s Magna Large Print Books, Diane Allan.
Friends chairman and district councillor Linda Brockbank spoke of the long hard road since North Yorkshire County Council revealed its closure proposal.
The announcement had been followed by public meetings, protest walks, the formation of an action group and the start of negotiations with the county council. A partnership was formed and the Friends of Bentham Library was born. Coun Trotter praised all those who had worked so hard in planning “this exciting community initiative” and wished members every success.