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Author gives big thumbs up to community library

By Stroud Life  |  Posted: January 09, 2013

  • Author Katie Fforde and town crier Tony Evans chat at the library opening.

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TOWN crier Tony Evans heralded the launch of the Minchinhampton's new community library by one of its biggest fans.

He rang his bell to announce the official opening of the free book loan service moments before romance novelist Katie Fforde cut the ribbon.

She declared it was her favourite library as a child and it still is now.

The author said: "I am so thrilled and glad to be asked to do this for you. I know it is going to be a huge success."

The volunteer-run library is the eighth to open in Gloucestershire, said Minchinhampton Community Library Trust chairman Chris Stone.

It is the last one to be saved by its supporters after the county council's austerity spending cuts axed local libraries.

Mr Stone said the county was still supporting the library with its books system.

In future, the maintenance of the building in School Road and its £10,00 to £12,000-a-year running costs will be met by the trust, supported by a small army of volunteers.

Mr Stone said: "We are administering everything at a local level. The support of the volunteers is crucial to what is going on today and in the future.

"It is an incredibly important facility and we must try and maintain it if we can."

The Minchinhampton Community Library Trust is registered as an independent charity to try to help it attract future funds.

Minchinhampton parish, Stroud district and Gloucestershire Rural Community councils are all backing it.

Unpaid library helper Caroline Matcham was there with her son Henry, two. She said the library is central to community life.

She said: "We came to baby bounce where they read nursery rhymes. It was how I met people. I am hoping we can make it a success."

Services including book loan with coffee sessions for the housebound are on the new community library agenda. For details on how to volunteering or helping the trust, send an email to enquiry@mclt.org.uk.

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  • Beekeeper  |  January 09 2013, 1:16PM

    We now have "community libraries" and "council-run libraries". They are not the same thing.

  • Beekeeper  |  January 09 2013, 1:14PM

    Keeping the building open (and for how long I wonder) is not the same as providing a public library service. I see in another story that "Bookstart Bear Clubs are launching at libraries across the county" to promote children's reading, but this is not happening at Minchinhampton - http://tinyurl.com/bemdpeg

  • gallopingbear  |  January 09 2013, 10:26AM

    Come on Billy, don't be a killjoy. The important thing is that these volunteers are keeping libraries open, so that people have access to books. Many people can't afford to buy books and would otherwise not be able to read them anyway. I very much doubt that one little library loaning out 1 copy of a book is going to cripple the author financially. Besides, if the author is selling so little, then he would never expect to make any money from his book in the first place. If this is the case about not getting royalties, then its the best sellers who stand to lose the most as their books would be checked out more times. A bit of benevolence for the sake of the price of a tin of beans is surely worth it when you see all of the good that this cause is doing in the local community. Consider it your charitable donation. There are unofficial libraries everywhere, businesses, community centres, people lend books to friends...

  • billy25  |  January 09 2013, 9:23AM

    Does Ms Forde know that because the library is not part of the statutory provision she and other authors will not recieve public lending right payments when their books are loaned by this library? She is supporting a model that does authors out of an income. Many whom are not "best sellers" like her and who need this modest income to support their work. Ms Forde also signed pettitions and wrote statements two years ago against this privatisation of public libraries. Is it a case of "no press is bad press" for her? or is it that she hasn't researched what she is putting her name to?

  • ShBurnham  |  January 09 2013, 9:02AM

    There is a thorny Gloucestershire matter that journalists ought to look into. How are people in your other communities notified that they can *opt in* to the council's registered mobile library user list ? If that query is not answered, many will be left high and dry. Believe me, there is interest in the issue beyond your boundaries - and any report you might do will be eagerly read by public library advocates elsewhere.

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