Kingsclere Community Library receives grant to help transition after being 'abandoned' by Hampshire County Council
THE chairwoman of the Kingsclere Community Library management committee has said a council grant will help the library bounce back to where it was before it was “abandoned”.
The library has received a grant of more than £6,000 to help with its transition to independent status after Hampshire County Council cut its support of the library earlier this year as part of a wider effort to save £1.76m.
Since April this year, the library – which has been run by volunteers since 2015 – has stood on its own two-feet, setting up a new custom built computer system to monitor its stock after the council removed its own machines.
It received a £600 grant from county councillor Tom Thacker (Con, Whitchurch and The Cleres) to purchase new books, and it’s also set up a project on charity platform the Good Exchange where Greenham Trust will match any donations between now and October.
Now, the library has received a grant of £6,700 which will go towards their new computer system, WiFi costs, a new computer and a scanner.
Management committee chairwoman Nicki Lee said: “Really it’s just to bring us back up to where we were when we were abandoned.
“It’s covered the costs. It’s a one-off grant – apparently if we need to we can apply for more funding, but it’s just for transitional costs, just to help us get re-established.
“We were very firm that we wanted to be a proper public library, although small, not just have a room of books.
“We’re looking for perhaps a retired librarian who can help us keep our collection up to date.
“We need to make sure we’re curating our collection and making sure it’s an appropriate public library collection.”
Mrs Lee said they were “very pleased” with how things had been going since their grand opening three months ago.
She added: “It’s so far so good. The volunteers have done brilliantly in adapting to our new library system, everyone’s been very cooperative and the public seem very happy.
“We just started our summer reading programme for children – they sign up, and if they read six books they get a medal, certificate and also a prize which was kindly donated by Swan Street Stores.
“Everything’s going well and we’re very pleased.”
The council’s executive member for recreation, heritage and rural affairs Edward Heron approved the funding at his decision day meeting on June 21.
He said: “This grant money will help residents in Bursledon, Kingsclere, Milford on Sea and Odiham to progress their plans to establish independent community libraries.
“Hampshire County Council has been actively supporting local groups that have come together to set up these new library offers.
“To date, we have provided £97,800 in grant money to support local volunteers to establish independent libraries at ten locations.”