Leeds & West Yorkshire

New Rawdon Community Library set to open

A meeting outside Rawdon Community Library
Image caption The library was one of 20 earmarked for closure.

A library that was almost closed under council cost-saving plans before being saved by residents has been officially opened.

Rawdon Community Library, in Leeds, is now to be run by volunteers after plans for an independent library were agreed by Leeds City Council in 2012.

It had been one of 20 city libraries earmarked for closure by the council.

Carolyn Speers, of the Friends of Rawdon Library, said she hoped the library would "form a focal point".

The official opening by Stuart Andrew, MP for Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough, took place at 14.30 GMT.

Shared system

Ms Speers, a qualified librarian, said the community group had about 45 people who would work at the library counter and a further 20 doing jobs around the building.

She encouraged people to take over other threatened libraries but said "be aware it is hard work".

A report to the council in 2010 said of the four million visits to the city's 53 libraries in 2009/10, 2.8 million were made to just 13 libraries.

The 20 least well-attended libraries received just 132,000 visits during the same period.

A council grant of £3,000 has been used to set up an automated system to record use of the books at the new library.

The system would be shared by a similar independent library in Shadwell, Leeds, said Ms Speers.

The library is to open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and Saturday mornings.

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