New volunteer-run library all set to open

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A village could have its own permanent, volunteer-run library by the end of October.

Heckington Parish Council has successfully bid for a share of funding offered by Lincolnshire County Council in its plan to reshape the library service, giving up smaller libraries to be run by volunteers.

Heckington did not have an existing library building, instead being visited by a mobile library – but the parish council saw an opportunity to expand the service if funding and volunteers came together.

Parish councillors have agreed to take on the service for the next four years initially, receiving a £15,000 one-off grant for set-up costs and 4,000 books. They also saved about £6,000 by acquiring second hand library shelves and furniture from the closure of Coningsby library.

Vice-chairman of the parish council Coun Jan Palmer said it was amazing how much room 4,000 books takes up - 84m of shelving - and added: “The money we have saved will be able to be spent on other things for the children. We are also getting a children’s reading mat and a blow up dinosaur that came from Coningsby.”

Chairman Coun Richard Higgs said they were having a structural engineer inspect the community rooms on St Andrew’s Street to decide whether to have the books on the ground or first-floor due to the weight. The shelves are on wheels so can still be pushed aside to hold meetings downstairs. A lift is being installed in the building as part of its five-year renovation plan.

“We are looking at opening it by the end of October,” said Coun Higgs.

A team of 12 confirmed volunteer librarians will be headed up by Vanessa Marshall and existing library members will be able to access and reserve books in the same way as elsewhere on the county system. They will also be able to reserve a slot on one of two computers to be installed.

She said there had been delays to the project due to the two judicial reviews called by objectors to the county wide changes, but welcomed more volunteer librarians. Contact 01529 460174 or drop into the parish office between 9am-12noon, Monday to Friday.