Booking up ideas to help save library

A BAND of volunteers have stepped into the breach to save the future of Stainforth Library – which they call a vital lifeline.

After funding was pulled for a number of libraries across the borough by Doncaster Council a group of volunteers was formed in the former pit village to secure it for years to come.

Leading the group is Stuart Bolton, he said the band of volunteers were determined not to let the site – which caters for 500 people a week – disappear.

He said: “We formed a new group called Stainforth For All when we heard that the council was going to close the library.

“Originally we wanted to buy it but since then there’s been a change of policy at the council so they’re going to help us with the running costs as long as we provide the volunteer members of staff to run it.

“We have over two dozen volunteers who will work on a rota and we are currently undergoing training every Wednesday afternoon.”

And he explained why they felt it was so important to keep the library open.

“It’s not just a library, it’s a focal hub of the village, for some it’s a vital lifeline,” Stuart said. “Five generations of my family have used that library.

“People go in there to find out information about all kinds of things and if they can’t find what they want in the library they will always be sign posted to the relevant place.

“People that go in there do so as part of their routine, not just to collect books or for the internet, but for a chat. The elderly go in there regularly, it’s a social hub.

“People use it from the cradle to the grave and children flock in after school to use the computers.

“Stainforth is the most deprived area in the country educationally so to close the library is a ridiculous idea.”

To mark the take over by volunteers on March 1 an open day is being held on Saturday, March 3.

Doors will open from 10am and there will be a raffle and tombola as well as the chance to browse around.

It is also hoped that between 7pm and 9pm there will be a free screening of a recently released film, tickets available from the library.

And as for the future use of the library there are lots of plans in place including a cafe and charity shop.

Stuart said: “We are hoping to get some qualified people along to offer employment advice, help with CVs and interview training and such like. We would eventually like to employ an outreach worker too.

“Stainforth Community Partnership have donated funds to buy a 10ft banner to advertise our group so people will know who we are, what we are, and what we do.

“It’s down to the council to provide public services but they don’t have the money. Myself and the people involved just can’t allow that service to disappear without a fight.”

Anyone who would like to volunteer to help should contact Stuart on 07426 545198 or the library on 01302 841239.