New look library ready to launch

Jane Vickery one of the volunteers who will be helping out in the new Masham library based in the Community Office.
Jane Vickery one of the volunteers who will be helping out in the new Masham library based in the Community Office.
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Masham’s under-threat library is set to re-launch after volunteers stepped in to save the facility.

The new-look library will open in a new home in the town’s Community Office on Thursday, February 2.

Christine Lehman (leff) and Sue Heron,  two of the volunteers who will be helping out in the new Masham library based in the Community Office.

Christine Lehman (leff) and Sue Heron, two of the volunteers who will be helping out in the new Masham library based in the Community Office.

The library’s future looked uncertain when North Yorkshire County Council announced a £1.7million cut in the libraries budget and Masham became one of eight facilities where the county council planned to cut all professional library staff.

But the town’s community office stepped into the breach and agreed to host the facility in its home on Little Market Place.

The old library closed on Christmas Eve but with the books and issuing machine now in place the new facility is ready to open.

It will be staffed by a group of 15 volunteers – including many from the town’s thriving book club – who have come forward to make sure Masham does not lose its library.

Community office manager Tessa Klemz said:

“When we agreed to take on the library I knew we needed around 15 volunteers, and 15 came forward. They are all very well qualified - lots of teachers and civil servants, and our volunteer coordinator David Teece has lots of experience.

“Some of the volunteers are new to Masham but feel they’re ready to give something back, while others have been here all their lives. One lady told me she had only been inside the old library once but didn’t want to see it lost altogether.” Training has been going on Monday, January 23 to Wednesday, January 25, with county library staff from Ripon showing volunteers the ropes of issuing books, ordering requests and signing new members up to the library service.

In a smaller space than its previous home the library’s stock will be changed to keep a variety of books on offer, Tessa added, but with a lift available the new library will be more accessible than the old facility. The Community Office already acts as the town’s tourist information point, is an access point for council services, and is home to the community police constable, and Tessa hopes it will become a “One Stop Shop” for Masham residents and visitors alike.

“We hope the library here will increase footfall in the community office, and encourage people to make use of the other services we offer like photocopying and ticket sales for local events.

Initially the library will be open 10am-3pm Monday to Saturday, a 70 percent increase on its previous opening hours, but soon the volunteer team hope to offer at least one evening opening a week, she added.

l Masham library reopens in the Community Office, Little Market Place, Masham at 11am on Thursday, February 2.