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Group aims for more library users

PUBLISHED: 11:04 07 February 2009 | UPDATED: 12:58 03 July 2010

Bradwell library looks set to have a brighter future

Bradwell library looks set to have a brighter future

Miles Jermy

HOPES were raised this week that a page has been turned in the fortunes of Bradwell Library.

A new group of five volunteers put themselves forward in a bid to keep the community library open at a meeting on Wednesday night.

HOPES were raised this week that a page has been turned in the fortunes of Bradwell Library.

A new group of five volunteers put themselves forward in a bid to keep the community library open at a meeting on Wednesday night.

Five years ago, villagers successfully launched a campaign to save the library after Norfolk County Council pulled out of running it.

Since then the number of people using the library has dwindled to just a handful for the two afternoons and one morning it is open.

The new management committee was formed at a public meeting held by the Reading Room Trust, which owns the library building.

The 20 people attending the meeting, at the Mill Lane Community Centre, heard that the committee's main task would be to attract more visitors to the library by raising its profile.

The Rev Ron Tuck, who chairs the trust, said: “The trustees have been involved with the day to day management of the library as well as looking after the building.

“We are very grateful to the volunteers who give up their time, but we need to get a dedicated team run the library.

“The library closing is the last thing the majority of the folk want to see happening, it is such an asset.

“Hopefully the new committee will have lots of bright ideas have to get more people using it.”

After hearing that the library may be force to close, if no-one could be found to run it, four villagers: Ann Green, Carol Hall, Julie Nicholls and Peter Harrison, and Breydon division county councillor Trevor Wainwright stepped forward.

Cllr Wainwright said: “The library had a lot of support and then people drifted away. It would be a tragedy if the library closed. It has to compete with council libraries which have computers, DVDs, the internet and book ordering service.

“We need to look at the opening times and ways of fundraising with a fresh pair of eyes.”

Although 1,500 people are on the library's books, only 200 people out of a population of 12,000 use it.

There were dissenting voices during the meeting with the library described as being run like a “rudderless ship.”

Chairman of the Mill Lane Centre trustees Maurice Johnson said: “I am sceptical about the point of keeping the library open for the 1 to 1.5pc of the village that use it.

“We also have a library van that serves all parts of Bradwell. I have no objections to the library if it pays its way but it has to be subsidised by the parish council.”

The first meeting of the management committee is due to be held later this month.

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