Village library looks set to avoid the axe

A11 Week 05'MCBH'DP'View, Chinnor Library
A11 Week 05'MCBH'DP'View, Chinnor Library
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CHINNOR Library looks to have been saved from the axe after a dramatic 11th hour proposal from Oxfordshire County Council promised ‘significant staffing’.

The proposals that would see the library remain open as it would one of five being granted significant levels of staffing, with the rest of the hours being made up by volunteers.

The news comes as a great boost to campaigners fighting for its future, after they were told in January that Chinnor was one of 20 due to be closed down.

Parish councillor Maxine Pickard said: “We are cautiously optimistic and pleased that they aren’t going to close the library because the planned objective was to keep it open with funding and it seems we have achieved that.”

The new proposals released on Friday show that 22 libraries will remain unchanged, including Thame, with five more having significant staffing and the remaining 16 relying on volunteers.

But the worry now is that the council has not gone into enough detail with its ideas and has left several key areas untouched.

Mrs Pickard said: “It is disappointing as it provides little information for the public – I am sure many of us will be requesting some more details.

“They haven’t actually mentioned the buildings but our library groups said we could be doing so much more – these rooms could be used for playgroups, coffee shops or even an internet cafe.

“It is the heart of the community and a wonderful place so is a great shame these rooms aren’t being utilised.

“There is so much potential but nobody at county has looked at that to try and get some income from their buildings – they just seem to have closed minds on the issue.”

There is also no exact numbers on the amount of hours of staffing that Chinnor Library will receive.

“They haven’t put any figures in it at all,” Mrs Pickard said.

“They are just telling us that they will provide staff for two thirds of the hours. We have already looked at when it is most used and when it isn’t. There is a couple of mornings when really they don’t need to be there but the council haven’t seemed to have looked at any of that.”

The proposals are now up for review for the next four months and can be found online via the council’s website.