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Southwell Town Council supports plans for community library despite concerns

Plans for a community library have been supported despite concerns it would hinder a town’s council-owned one.

Lyn Harris, Southwell Town Council chairman, led the fight for a new community library, which would be owned and managed by its users.

“It is something I have always wanted to do,” said Mrs Harris. “It is great that the Co-op has seen that we haven’t got one and that they are going to begin this.”

Southwell Library, Southwell. (6307142)
Southwell Library, Southwell. (6307142)

Fellow member Peter Harris supported the plans, claiming it would be an improvement on the current book-swap system The Ropewalk Co-op currently runs.

“The idea is very similar to the book exchange system in the Co-op and they would be asking the town council to look after the community library rather than having a shelf at the front of the store, which is the case at the moment,” said Mr Harris.

“It is very successful within a whole range of communities with and without libraries.”

However, not all councillors believed in the idea.

David Martin said: “I don’t really understand why we need a community library because we have a great library already (referring to The Bramley Centre on King Street).

“I would hesitate to think that people are going to use the community library and not the main library.

“It has been said that we are at risk of not having our library and that it might be closed and so on, so why would one think to trigger that by having a small library which could replace the service our library creates and produces.

“Who would use the this (the community library) and who wouldn’t use the library (The Bramley Centre)?”

He said he saw value in having a community library in places that didn’t have a public library, using Lowdham as an example.

Michael Jeffrey also had concerns.

“There are two issues that we have to address,” he said.

“One is the fact we have also got the second-hand book shop as well as the library and, two, in light of what has been happening in the last month with vandalism, I am have grave concerns that the community library would scattered all over the carpark.”

Mrs Harris, who rallied the support of councillors for the project, said she believed it would benefit children as well as the wider community.

“With children it is about ownership of stories and having books without having to buy them,” she said.

“Finances might be stretched for some families and books are a real support.”

The council will work with Co-op to establish a plan for the community library.

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