Virginia Water library alive with community spirit

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Author Russell Butt first pressed in Get Surrey
January 16, 2013

THERE was proud talk of community spirit as Virginia Water’s library was reopened at the weekend with more than 50 villagers already fully trained for their volunteer duties.

Members of the Virginia Water Save a Library committee were delighted at the turnout on Saturday when the library officially reopened after staving off the threat of closure.

Virginia Water’s was one of 11 libraries facing possible closure as Surrey County Council looked at ways of reining in costs, targeting the least cost-effective.

However, the communities of those 11 places were thrown a lifeline when the county council said they could be saved if volunteers came forward to take over the running.

The Save a Library committee was formed soon afterwards and members campaigned to keep the library open, to be funded by the county but staffed by volunteers.

The weekend was the culmination of their endeavours, as the Mayor of Runnymede, Councillor Linda Gillham, formally opened the library.

Cllr Gillham said: “It showed the strength of feeling in wanting to keep this library open.

“I was encouraged that more than 50 people have been trained to give their time as volunteer librarians. It shows great community spirit.”

Jean Clark, a Save a Library committee member, was delighted. “A lot of people turned up and it all went very well,” she said.

“We had around 60 people in there at one point. We were officially opened by the Mayor of Runnymede, who was introduced by the chairman of the Save Virginia Water Library Steering Group, Guy Charison, who thanked all the members of the steering group for their hard work in the past 18 months to keep the library open.”

The first two people to be made new library members by a volunteer librarian were Mr Charison’s baby boys, Piers and William but many more signed up on the day.

The committee’s focus is now on a successful first year to prove that the library is in good hands.

Ms Clark said: “We worked so hard to keep it open and we think it has been worth it – just so that people can go to the library in Virginia Water.

“We are very pleased that it has all happened.

“We’re hoping now that we can relax a bit.”

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About Roger Nield MBE

Safety Director for the SMPL Organisation and supporting our Vulnerable Veterans Programme.
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