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Bentham Library's future secured

Bentham Library's future secured

Published by The Stray FM News Team at 5:48pm 17th February 2017. (Updated at 5:50pm 17th February 2017)

A new home has been found for Bentham Library.

As a result of an agreement between North Yorkshire County Council, volunteers and local charity Pioneer Projects, the library will move into the Pioneer Projects centre on King Street in late spring/early summer, where it will occupy the first floor.

From April, Bentham will become a community-run library and will operate in the current building in Main Street until the relocation.

Work has been undertaken by the council's library service and its Stronger Communities team, along with a group of volunteers known as Friends of Bentham Library (FOBL), to create a sustainable model for the library and to look for potential sites and solutions.

The library will operate under the same management board as Pioneer Projects, which delivers creative writing, crafts, health and well-being, and community events.

It will make more efficient use of the building, which already has full access for people with disabilities, and is also expected to lead to longer library opening hours, with potentially 35 compared to the current 15 hours a week.

County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, Executive Member for Library and Information Services, said: "This new home for Bentham Library is an excellent example of partnership working. Sharing the King Street premises with Pioneer Projects brings the library closer to the town centre and means that resources and costs and expertise can also be shared and new initiatives developed. It also means that the library can stay open for longer.

"The County Council will continue to offer staff training and to maintain the library stock and we are delighted that this excellent solution to the library's future has been secured."

Sue Vasey, Pioneer Projects' Interim Director, added: "Pioneer Projects are really pleased they are able to step in and offer a new home to Bentham Community Library in our building. As well as securing the library for the future, it provides an opportunity for Pioneer Projects' staff and volunteers to support the Friends of Bentham Library and work with them to develop the service for the future.

"The first floor of the building is currently being rearranged to provide the best possible configuration for the library and we are excited to see the space and welcome our community into it when this work is completed."

Friends of Bentham Library and the library service have already recruited 26 volunteers in the run-up to 1 April, but are still keen to hear from anyone who is interested in getting involved.

For more information, call Pioneer Projects on 01524 262672 or John Frankland, County Council Service Development Officer, on 01609 534547.

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