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Kingsclere Community Library reopens for the first time as an independent



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April 13 was a momentous day for Kingsclere Community Library as it reopened for the first time as an independent.

The library, in George Street, has been forced to go it alone after Hampshire County Council cut its support of the service last year.

Kingsclere community library opens - Nicki Lee and Lucinda Thursfield - management committee
Kingsclere community library opens - Nicki Lee and Lucinda Thursfield - management committee

And last Tuesday, following the easing of lockdown restrictions, the library opened for the first time standing on its own two feet.

It will soon have a custom-built computer system to monitor its stock, while free Kingsclere library cards are available for everyone, no matter where you live.

Management committee chairwoman Nicki Lee emphasised that the library would continue to be free and said she was feeling optimistic for its future.

She said: “Our volunteers have been fabulous, we’ve had enough comeback that we can man the hours and open.

“It hasn’t been hugely busy – I think people will slowly gain more confidence, and people haven’t been entirely sure that we’re open.

“The library cards are freely available – I think for whatever reason people don’t realise libraries are free.

“We’re completely free. There’s a lot still to do to get us up and running with our new systems, but we can see where we’re going and how we’re going to do it.

“It looks pretty straightforward – not to say we won’t have any hiccups or learning curves!”

Kingsclere community library opens - Nicki Lee and Lucinda Thursfield - management committee
Kingsclere community library opens - Nicki Lee and Lucinda Thursfield - management committee

The library – which has been run by volunteers since 2015 – has applied for a recreation and heritage grant from the county council to help cover the costs of the transition, and has received a £600 grant from county councillor Tom Thacker (Con, Whitchurch and The Cleres) to purchase books.

It’s also set up a project on charity platform The Good Exchange where Greenham Trust will match any donations between now and October, and Mrs Lee said an application for the library to become a charity was almost complete.

She continued: “We’re literally in the process of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s to finish our application to become a charity.

“We’re feeling quite confident, confident in our new system, and hopeful that becoming a charity will enable us to raise the money we need for our expenses.”

The library is currently open from 1pm to 5.30pm on Tuesdays, 2.30pm to 7pm on Thursdays and 10am to 1pm on Saturdays.

No booking is required, but there may be a wait due to a restriction on numbers in the library.

To donate to the project on The Good Exchange, visit https://bit. ly/32u0F3i



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