School takes over library service

St Hedda's School at Egton Bridge, who will be setting up a community library''w120427
St Hedda's School at Egton Bridge, who will be setting up a community library''w120427

WHEN the mobile service stopped visiting Egton Bridge last year, villagers found themselves cut off from any library provision – but now a local primary school has stepped in to help.

St Hedda’s Primary School is set to open its doors to the community to provide a service that head teacher Mari Palmer says will give the entire Esk Valley community a huge boost.

She added: “The mobile libraries have gone now and there isn’t one close to us, the nearest is Sleights, five miles away.

“It’s also difficult for many people in this area to get to Whitby.

“Giving people access to books is going to help all aspects of the community. It will help children with school work and the more elderly members of the community will be able to come along, whereas before they couldn’t get into town.”

The mobile library only visited the village for half an hour per week, but the school will be able to open for around six hours, outside school hours and including Saturday mornings.

“Hopefully more people will be able to access it,” added Mrs Palmer. “Before we decided to go ahead with the submission we did a straightforward questionnaire in the schools and we got over 100 people saying they would use us.

“The half hour when the mobile library visited was in school time, so people couldn’t take their kids or would miss out if they were at work.”

Around 1,000 books will be supplied by North Yorkshire County Council’s library service, which will also refresh them regularly.

By placing the library at the school, this will also allow the service to be essentially rent-free.

It will also be run by a team of volunteers, with support from the library service, which will aid the county council as it attempts to save £1.7m from the library budget over the next few years.

County councillor Chris Metcalfe, executive member for library services, said: “We welcome this very positive initiative which means a library outlet can continue in Egton Bridge. Village schools are at the heart of their communities and St Hedda’s has come forward with an excellent community solution for our library service.”

Mrs Palmer was, however, keen to state that in starting the volunteer community library, they were not depriving people of employment opportunities.

She said: “I wouldn’t like to think we were taking anybody’s jobs, but we didn’t start looking into this until the mobile libraries had gone.”

Egton Church of England primary school, along with Glaisdale community primary and Egton parish council, have supported the initiative. To get involved with the community library, contact Mrs Palmer on (01947) 895361.