A CAMPAIGN to find volunteers to take on the running of Silsden library could begin in the New Year.

Efforts will be spearheaded by town and district councillor Adrian Naylor, who already has several years’ experience leading Addingham’s community library team.

But the politician warns many volunteers will be needed to keep the library, currently run by Bradford Council, open to the public.

And he fears the library’s location, in Silsden Town Hall, could complicate the issue and deter townspeople from taking on responsibility.

Cllr Naylor, who represents Craven ward on Bradford Council, spoke after City Hall revealed it wanted most of its 32 libraries to become community-managed in a bid to save millions of pounds on its budget.

Keighley library would remain under council control, but Silsden and Wilsden  libraries will close within three years if volunteers are not found.

Cllr Naylor said he has already had a preliminary discussion with Bradford libraries boss, Jackie Kitwood, and plans another meeting in January.

He added: “We spoke about Silsden library, and about the problems we have overcome running Addingham library for the past five years.

“I got the library transferred to the community, and since then we’ve done it very successfully. There is very healthy usage, and we are putting forward a grant application for refurbishment.”

Cllr Naylor said new community libraries in places such as Silsden would receive books from Bradford Council, but would have to find their own running costs.

He added: “The key to a successful community library is having enough volunteers and having people with the skill set to manage it.

“In Addingham, we have the expertise and we understand the pitfalls. We have more than 30 volunteers, and we have three people who have run libraries before.

“Finding volunteers will be the main issue in Silsden. We learned in Addingham that you need a lot of them. Some people only want to do a couple of hours a week or fortnight.”

Cllr Naylor said there could be the added pressure of the town hall in Silsden because, at present, library staff oversee groups who hire other rooms in the building.

He added: “If it turns out volunteers will be taking on management responsibility for the town hall, that might put a lot of people off. It could impact on other users of the town hall.

“Hopefully in January we will be able to thrash out what Bradford want us to do and what the community have the capacity to do.”

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