Volunteers have taken control of the second library in Surrey to be run by local people, receiving the support of PR expert Max Clifford in the process.
Local people took over the day to day running of the New Haw branch on Monday 1 October and plan to go out into their community to ask what services the library should provide.
The volunteers received a welcome boost from the UK’s leading PR expert and Surrey resident Max Clifford, who said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved with the successful campaign to keep New Haw library open. I know that the library is such a benefit to so many people in the area.
“This is a great example of what people power can achieve and I am delighted to have played a small part in helping keep the library open. I am aware of places all over the country that are facing up to similar problems and I hope the example of the people of New Haw will inspire them.”
New Haw is the second of 10 branches in Surrey to become a community-partnered library. Under the partnership, Surrey County Council will continue to provide the building, books, computers, free wi-fi and everything else associated with a library.
Carol Deakins, Chairman of New Haw Library Community Partnership, said: “It’s been a long haul and we’re really pleased to launch. This provides a real opportunity to find out what people want from their local library and we’ll be going out into the community to talk to them and find out.”
The volunteers plan to hire out rooms at the back of the library to stage events such as meetings, book clubs and classes.
Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “The people of New Haw are grasping the opportunity to tailor their library to meet local needs with both hands. Their commitment, ideas and enthusiasm will help the library fulfil its potential and benefit the community as a whole for many years.
“The 10 libraries becoming community partnerships account for just 6% of all library use and have limited opening hours. We didn’t want to see them decline which is why we’re giving local people the power to help them thrive.”
Byfleet library was taken over by volunteers last month. The other branches to become community partnerships are Bagshot, Bramley, Ewell Court, Lingfield, Stoneleigh, Tattenhams, Virginia Water and Warlingham.
To find out about volunteering at New library, telephone 01932 343167, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media requiring more information can contact Surrey County Council senior media relations officer James Oxley at email@example.com.