VILLAGERS and community leaders celebrated the reopening of a library, which had been closed for over a year.

County Cllr Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, cut the red ribbon to officially mark the reopening of Whalley Library on Abbey Road.

More than 50 villagers and councillors from Whalley, Billington, Langho and other neighbouring villages made the trip to Whalley and celebrate the return of their ‘community hub’.

Following the closure of 26 of the county’s 73 libraries by Lancashire County Council towards the end of 2016, a new administration was elected in May 2017, and has decided to re-open as many libraries as possible.

Whalley is the ninth library to reopen following the reopening of Burnley Campus Library in late 2017, and Oswaldwistle Library and Barrowford Library earlier this month.

County Cllr Peter Buckley, who is the cabinet member for community and cultural services, described the library as a hub of the local community and ‘more than just books’.

Cllr Atkinson, whose electoral division includes Whalley, said: “The campaign to reopen Whalley library was the biggest in the county and it’s great to see it back because it’s part of the fabric of the village.

“Not only is this an educational facility for the children to study and ready but also for the older people to come together.”

Cllr Terry Hill, who represents the area, said: “What the officers have done is remarkable.

“The library is set up in a modern way, with nice seating areas all the way around, and the staff are really knowledgeable.

“A lot of people in the village came to visit just to make a point of coming back to the village library.

“I’m really glad it’s back.”

Cllr Ged Mirfin, who represents neighbouring Billington and Langho and also helped run Save the Whalley Library campaign, said: “I’m delighted for the community and it will make a really good re-addition to the functions and services that local people can access.

“I would like to thank everyone in the community who has worked really hard on this campaign and we have the desired end result.”

Billington and Langho Parish Cllr Tony Austin said: “It’s really nice to see this facility reopen.

“It helps not just the people of Whalley but also helpful for Billington and Langho because it’s nearest one.” to use much nearer than going to Clitheroe.

“It’s a purpose built building. It’s nice it’s come back and used for what it’s supposed to be.”

The opening hours for the library will be Monday from 9am to 1pm, Tuesday between 9am to 7pm, Wednesday from 9am to 5pm, Friday between 9am to 5pm and Saturday from 9am to 1pm.

It will be closed on Thursdays and Sundays.

Following the library’s refurbishment new facilities have been installed, including an E-Book service which allows users to order up to 10 books online at a time.