A NEW independent library and community centre has opened in a town as part of a local authority's 'transfer of assets' programme.

It is hoped the building in Adelaide Street, Crawshawbooth, will become a hub of activity as well as lending a range of books to residents.

The library in Crawshawbooth is the first to reopen in a building transferred from Lancashire County Council to the community under the Conservative administration's programme to reopen several of the 26 closed two years ago.

The service will be run by Crawshawbooth Community Association which has managed the centre for the past six years.

It hopes to expand its range of activities and run the independent community-run library including books for children and large print editions for older and partially-sighted residents.

Hundreds of books have been donated as part of a community book exchange. The library has large fiction and cookery sections, daily newspapers and computers with internet access.

There is a café staffed by volunteers,and a meeting space for community use. The building will also be used for councillors' and police surgeries. Knit and natter, rhythm and rhyme, and a readers’ group will run from the centre.

Hazel Harding, Crawshawbooth Library and Community Centre's chair, said: "We are really excited. We've rolled our sleeves up and worked hard to get the building ready.

"I've no doubt that it will soon be a hub for community activity."

Cllr Peter Buckley, county council culture boss, said: "Having a library, whoever runs it, within easy reach allows everyone to be able to access information and books, and find out about local events and activities.

"It's also somewhere that people can meet, and all ages can interact and share interests."