Library saved by community

Ackworth Library
Ackworth Library

DELIGHTED campaigners have received thousands of pounds to keep an under-threat library open.

Friends of Ackworth Library group confirmed they have been successful in their bid for a £12,500 grant to save the Bell Lane service from the axe.

Roger Brown, chairman of the group, said they hope to reopen the village library under new management and with a team of volunteers next February.

He said: “The group has been given the grant by Wakefield Council and we’re now going ahead with trying to get a community library open on February 1.

“We’re delighted to get the grant because it means we have enough money to pay someone to manage it, which to us is the key to this.”

The council announced last summer it would be overhauling its library services following severe budget cuts.

Community leaders in Ackworth vowed to save their library by applying to the council’s £100,000 pot of cash offered to groups wanting to run facilities themselves.

Mr Brown said: “We’re working with Ackworth Parish Council and they are supporting us by offering a peppercorn rent to keep the service at the community centre.

“In the meantime we have got residents and volunteers to help out and people offering books. Our intention is also to have computers for people and we’re hoping to work alongside other groups in Walton and Upton to open next year.”

Earlier this year senior councillors pledged to invest £1m in 14 ‘hub’ libraries run by the council – including those as Pontefract, Castleford, Featherstone and Airedale – leaving 12 ‘satellite’ services run by community groups.

A library service at St Mary’s Community Centre in Chequerfield, Pontefract, closed last month after no-one came forward to run it.

Coun David Dagger, cabinet member for libraries, said: “We are pleased that the Friends of Ackworth Library group will be providing library provision in Ackworth from early next year.

“We are working closely with the group to help them set up their library which will remain within the parish council community centre.

“The existing service will close to the public on January 31.”