Brainstorming begins to save Harbury library

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Harbury Pre-School and determined villagers are positive that they can save their library from the threat of closure.

The service in High Street, which is run by Warwickshire County Council, is among 16 in the county which have been identified as “no longer sustainable” and may have to close to help the council make savings of £60 million over the next four years.

But because half the building is used by the pre-school, hopes have been raised that there is a strong case for it to remain open - particularly as work on a new £95,000 toilet block for the children is now well underway.

Jacqui Quinney, chairman of the pre-school’s management committee, said: “Yes, the county council has identified the library as unsustainable, but the parish council has been proactive in looking into how the library can be run by the community. It’s looking hopeful that we are going to be able to save the library in some form or other.

“Because we are there, the building has a reason to be there. It’s doom and gloom on the one hand and an opportunity on the other.”

Harbury parish council chairman Tim Lockley is heading a six-strong library steering group which was born out of a public meeting held last week.

He said: “We are looking at ways we can maintain the library while also improving the use of the building, which can certainly be used more efficiently.”

Ideas the group has come up with - bearing in mind a covenant on the building that states it must be used for educational purposes - include setting up a community cafe during library opening hours, running reading group sessions and using the space for art exhibitions.

Cllr Lockley said: “Harbury library is cheaper to run than most other libraries and it is used, in proportion to its population, just as much as Leamington library. It may be unsustainable in its current form, but if we can change it, we can make it sustainable.”