BERKELEY’S new community-run library is now open to the public.
The new venture, entitled Berkeley Books, reopened as a volunteer-run venture on Tuesday, November 6.
It is one of seven libraries that ceased to be run by Gloucestershire County Council’s Library Service as part of the council’s new library strategy. Around 40 volunteers came forward to help with the refurbishment and running of the library over the past week, and have been busy repainting interior walls, putting new labels in the books and reorganising the library’s stock. The newly-magnolia walls have brightened the interior and local artist Cat Ingle, who runs the Impatient Vagrant centre in White Hart Court, has lent a hand, painting a magnificent castle on the wall in the children’s corner. Chairman of the Berkeley Community Library Committee, John Stanton, said he had high hopes for the library’s success. "There’s now a feeling of community ownership," he said. "It can be more of a community centre than just a repository of information." Volunteers are currently being trained to use the computer systems and catalogue books, but the team are in need of more volunteers for the library, as well as for behind the scenes roles such as taking over the library's accounts. The county council is currently providing the new volunteer-run enterprise with £10,000 a year, but the committee will need to supplement this heavily with their own fundraising. This will begin with a grand draw with over 20 prizes, which will be drawn at the library’s official opening on Saturday, December 15. Berkeley Books, just off Marybrook Street, is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 10.30am to 4.30pm and 9.30am to 12.30pm on Saturdays. See Berkeleybooks.org.uk or call secretary Margaret Taylor on 01453 819249 for more information.