Friends support library’s future

RESIDENTS have agreed to form a Friends of Neithrop Library group in a bid to secure the service’s future.

On Tuesday, Cherwell district and Oxfordshire county councillors held a meeting with about 50 adults and children in the community to discuss creating the group and enhancing the library’s service to users.

Earlier this year the library, in Woodgreen Avenue, Banbury, was upgraded from a community library to a core library to protect it from funding cuts, but users are keen to take a proactive approach to ensure it is well-used. They hope this will prevent it being targeted by any future cuts.

Cllr Judith Heathcoat said: “The library isn’t closing but what we want is for people to make the library so much of a hub nobody could get rid of it in the future because so many people are using its services.”

The purpose of the Friends group is to provide a point of contact between the councils and local communities.

Already ten people have signed up with suggestions to enhance the service including extending the hours using volunteers, a homework club and a mobile library service delivering books to people who are housebound.

Councillors stressed using volunteers would not lead to the scaling back of paid staff but would provide an opportunity to offer more than the basic services funded by the council.

Lending his support to the scheme, Imam Shaeb Ahmed said: “Setting up a Friends group is an excellent idea and an opportunity for the community to get together.

“The library is the backbone of children’s education and we should do all we can to protect it.”