Former BBC journalist opens community library in Puddletown
VETERAN journalist Kate Adie helped Puddletown library launch its new role as a community asset run by volunteers.
She cut a ribbon to mark the opening of the library under its new management.
The former BBC chief foreign correspondent joined campaigners in a toast to wish the venture success.
Puddletown library volunteers were the first in the county to work under Dorset Library Service's supervision to extend opening hours.
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This time they are pioneers in a move to hand eight small libraries to their communities to run.
The move follows county council cuts that led to an end in funding staff at libraries in Puddletown and Burton Bradstock, Charmouth, Chickerell, Colehill, Corfe Castle, Stalbridge and Wool which are all planning to be run as community assets in the coming months.
One library, Portland Underhill, closed.
Kate Adie, who now lives in Dorset, said she was pleased to support the campaigners in their efforts to take on Puddletown library.
She said: "Libraries are a mark of civilisation.
"It's absolutely essential to be able to go to libraries especially for people living in rural communities.
"Having a library in your own village is a great blessing.
"It's very good for Puddletown to keep its library.
"I am a serious user of libraries and I was glad to help."
Ms Adie said she was using libraries in Dorset and the county archives at Dorset History Centre in Dorchester in order to carry out research for her next book, which will be about the First World War.
Puddletown library will be run by 28 volunteers working in pairs four days a week.
They will give advice on books and look after the computers available whenever the library is open.
Books and technical services will continue to be supplied by the county council.
Mike Chaney, chairman of the Friends of Puddletown Library, said: "We have a proud record of four years of consistent dependability behind us.
"Now we have been trained to work Dorset's computerised library system, we'll make sure our readers don't suffer from the council's need to cut services to save money."
The volunteers also have responsibility for balancing the books with the Friends continuously fundraising to meet the cost of the service and pay the bills.
West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin said: "I pay tribute to all those who have worked so hard to ensure that Dorset's village libraries have a future."
He described the Puddletown campaigners efforts as heroic.
Hilary Cox, cabinet member for community services, thanked the volunteers as she handed over the library on behalf of the county council.