MORE volunteers are being brought in to run Darwen Library to help secure its future.

As part of the 2016/17 round of savings, Blackburn with Darwen Council said it has been forced to make changes to the way the service is operated.

The library is now being run by two members of staff and 14 volunteers, with five more set to join shortly.

The new model was brought in to minimise the reductions in hours, which came in this year, but to help ensure the library’s future.

It was decided the library did need staffing but volunteers and the friends group could contribute more.

Cllr Damian Taylor, council executive member for leisure, culture and young people, said ‘excellent’ progress is being made.

He said: “Exploring how we operate the library was one of the decisions agreed as part of the 2016/17 rounds of savings and has been implemented following discussions with the Friends of Darwen Library.

"The aim is to minimise the reductions in hours but to help ensure the future of the library.

“Darwen Library needs some staffing but the friends agree they can play more of a role.

“The signs so far are that they are working very well with our passionate remaining staff which bodes well for the future.

“The way the council has handled the Government budget cuts where libraries are concerned has been held up as an example of good practice, working with the community to ensure continued provision has meant that no libraries have closed.”

Opening times at the library were cut by a few hours recently.

A volunteer fair has already been held where application packs were handed out and it is hoped a few more recruits will come forward.

Harold Heys, a member of the friends group, said: “The library’s venture into volunteering seems to be working extremely well.

“A lot of people have come forward to help because it is an important part of the town’s culture and is extremely popular.