Libraries given a stay of execution

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TWO libraries have been handed a vital lifeline in their bid to remain open.

Stony Stratford and Woburn Sands libraries have been told by the Lib Dem group at Milton Keynes Council that their efforts to remain open had prompted a rethink.

Since the announcement that the council planned to remove funding from libraries across the city, campaigns have been taking place in Stony Stratford and Woburn Sands.

Stony Stratford library achieved international fame when it had 16,000 books withdrawn in a week as part of its ‘Wot no Books’ campaign in a bid to show the council how important the library still was in the community.

It also sold merchandise promoting the library.

Both Stony Stratford and Woburn Sands libraries took part in the national “Read-in” scheme on Saturday, with many families reading together.

As a result of members’ efforts, the facilities have been given dispensation. Woburn Sands library will be run by the council until September 2011, giving it time to establish a new base for a community library.

Woburn Sands Councillor David Hopkins revealed to the Citizen that opening a community library, run by the Library Trust, was already a contingency plan in the making.

In addition, MK Council will be funding some of the costs of Stony Stratford library in 2011 to allow an additional three months to reach an agreement with Stony Stratford Town Council about the future of its library service.

Councillor Jenni Ferrans, Lib Dem Cabinet Member for Libraries, said: “My colleagues and I were impressed by the strength of community support for these two libraries and I am delighted that we will be able to make this money available to smooth the transition to local control of the libraries.”