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Users planning to pay for £400,000 facelift to library
THEY successfully fought to keep their library open three years ago.
And now the Friends of Summertown Library want to raise £400,000 to give the facility a major facelift.
Back in 2011 the library in South Parade was at risk of closing as part of Oxfordshire County Council’s controversial savings plan.
The council’s library service and Friends group invested money in the library two years ago.
But with little prospect of further council spending on the library for many years, the Friends have decided to raise the funds themselves.
The £400,000 would pay for improvements, with the interior remodelled to make the library more family friendly.
A new flexible layout will incorporate movable book cases so the building can be used for meetings and activities.
Money will also be spent on the building’s frontage and decor, with WIFI offered free for users.
Marcus Ferrar, chairman of the Friends of Summertown Library, said: “If we do nothing, despite the best efforts of the excellent staff, there is a risk that the library declines and becomes dreary.
“The county council has told us that it has no money to invest in libraries in the foreseeable future.
“The Friends want to act now, together with the council, to give the community the first-class library it deserves.
“I have contributed £10,000 from my own pocket. Every little helps, but I hope some of those who value this library will make substantial donations. We have an enticing vision and costed plan.”
He said the Friends hoped to raise the money over two years, while the county council would provide expertise and advice on modernisation.
Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, council cabinet member for libraries, said: “We share the vision of making Summertown a facility that the community can be proud of.”
Friends trustee and Wolvercote county councillor, Jean Fooks, said: “The plans would make the library both more attractive and flexible.”
Summertown residents were prominent in protests when the county council said in 2010 that it would stop funding to 20 of the county’s 43 libraries.
The closure plan was abandoned in 2011.