COMMUNITY volunteers have rallied to reopen a library in Clayton-le-Moors.

Cash-strapped council bosses closed the town’s former civic hall library last year but volunteers from Mercer House refused to accept the closure and sought to open an independently-run centre.

Yesterday volunteers celebrated the opening of the town’s new library at the Arthur Wilson Centre.

Mum-of-four Tracey Tomlinson, volunteer coordinator, said: “Everyone has worked so hard to make sure that this is a success.

“We are so pleased to open the region’s first independent library and look forward to welcoming members in.

“Libraries are so important for the community and especially for children, as they are places of learning and play.”

Miss Tomlinson said a team of 14 volunteers would be taking shifts to run the centre, which will be open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.

She added: “As we are a volunteer-run service we are appealing for book donations, if anyone has any books in good condition we would gratefully receive them.

“We are also considering having a suggested £1 joining fee, this again will help us to expand the libraries catalogue and help with the upkeep but I want to stress this will just be a suggested fee.”

The library will also offer a limited IT service, with two laptops being available for an hour-long hire inside the centre.

Ward councillor Tim O’Kane welcomed the opening of the new library.

He said: “I am all in favour of community initiatives like this, it is very important for people to have access to a library. In these times of austerity community facilities are ever under threat so it is encouraging to see the community coming together like this.”

The new library at Arthur Wilson Centre is part of Lancashire County Council’s initiative to move more services into community hands in order to cut costs.

A council spokesman said: “The council has agreed a package of help to establish independent community-run libraries.

"The support package includes £5,000 to provide public internet access and cover set-up costs and an annual grant of £1,000 for public internet access.”