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Group wants to run threatened Sheffield library

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Volunteers have formed an action group in a bid to take over the running of a Sheffield library.

The nine residents aiming to save Frecheville Library also have plans to expand its services, from offering coffee and cake to running children’s parties–transforming it into a community hub.

A business plan has been submitted to Sheffield Council, which will consider the results of a public consultation on closing 16 libraries.

Former firefighter Terry Hunt, chairman of Frecheville Library Action Group, said: “We hope to get constituted very soon and then we can maintain library services as they are now while bringing back old services that they used to provide as a community hub.

“These could include a pre-school, a dog walking group, coffee mornings and health walks – things community centres should have but unfortunately have been outsourced or stopped.”

Two members of the action group have visited independent libraries in Wakefield to see how community groups took over their management.

Three have experience as librarians.

Birley councillors set up public meetings to find people interested in running the library.

A £1,000 sum from ward funds is expected to go towards the group’s first year costs if their business plan is approved.

Coun Bryan Lodge, Birley Labour member, said: “It is really positive that a group has been set up, because it shows the strength of feeling from the community to support their library and they are not people that you see normally from other groups.

“There were quite a lot of people very disappointed at the thought of the library closing.

“But they instigated action to make sure we keep the library open and some of the ideas to develop the library further are incredible.”

Councillors will make a decision on which libraries will close in February.

 

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