The Peasedown St John community are celebrating this week after Bath & North East Somerset Council gave the final green light for the village’s new library to open.
Eighteen months ago, local Councillors Karen Walker and Sarah Bevan (Independents) launched a campaign to open such a facility, in the wake of cuts to the mobile library service.
Following a meeting with Council Directors, Cabinet Members, the local councillors and Peasedown St John Residents’ Association in February 2018, a steering group was put together to manage the village’s application.
Cllr Karen Walker, who will be Library’s new Operations Manager, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who responded to surveys, gave up their time, delivered leaflets, came along to meetings, helped prepare the space for the arrival of 700 books, and baked cakes!
“Over 2,700 households received a survey from us last Autumn asking for their views on whether or not they wanted to see a village library, where they thought it should be located, and if they would like to volunteer. The response was fantastic!”
A steering group, led by Karen and Sarah, and former B&NES Councillor Nathan Hartley, saw:
- 20 volunteers recruited;
- An arrangement with Curo for St John’s Community Hall, St John’s Close, to be used free-of-charge to house the new library;
- £5,000 allocated by B&NES Council to kick start the project;
- A Full Application submitted to B&NES Council, along with various legal documents, policies and risk assessments;
- A logo, Facebook page and marketing materials created for the library, following public consultation;
- A further £500 awarded by Curo for the initiative;
- Volunteers spending several days over the summer – painting, cleaning carpets, moving furniture and sorting through the 1,000 books that had been donated by the public.
Cllr Sarah Bevan added: “Peasedown’s new community library will be part of the B&NES Council network of libraries, so a resident can take out a book locally and return it to Bath library, or vice versa.
“Or they can take home a book from Midsomer Norton library and return it to us here in Peasedown.
“We’ll have over 700 books, which will include a huge range of fiction, non-fiction, children’s literature and information resources.”
The official opening will take place on Monday 28th October, 1pm at the library’s new home – St John’s new Community Centre, 33a St John’s Close, Peasedown St John.
Volunteers will staff the library 12 hours per week, Mondays 1 pm-4 pm, Wednesdays 1pm-7 pm and Saturdays 10 am-1 pm.
Other services provided include free access to the internet, tea and coffee making facilities and A4 photocopying/scanning services.
Nathan Hartley, who worked with B&NES Council to complete all the necessary paperwork and legal documentation, added: “A village of almost 7,000 residents certainly needs its own library!
“To go from a mobile library service that visited Peasedown only 20-40 minutes every other week, to a fully functioning library that will be open 12 hours per week is testament to everyone who worked hard on this.
“Our new community library will be a resource for anyone, and everyone is invited to its grand opening on Monday 28th October.
“Just to add extra excitement to the project, we’ve now opened a brand-new dementia-friendly, sensory garden outside of the library so when the weather is good visitors can sit outside with a good book and a nice, cold refreshing drink!”
Anyone who would like to get involved with Peasedown St John Community Library can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.