Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Family Library charity could 'cease to exist' if funds are not raised

Children and staff in the Family Library Image copyright Family Library
Image caption The Family Library provides book and resources to all the island's primary schools

A Manx charity which supports a "vital and magical place" for child learning and a "lifeline" book delivery service for the elderly will close if it does not raise £250,000 by 31 July.

The Family Library provides lending services, resources to the Isle of Man's primary schools and a mobile service in rural parts of the island.

A spokeswoman said it would "cease to exist" if the funds were not raised.

A previous donor had offered to match-fund any donations up to £125,000.

The charity took control of the services in 2012, when government funding ceased, and has been funded by online gambling firm PokerStars and that company's co-founders, the Sheinberg family.

A family spokesman said the library services "epitomise the kind of charity we support".

Image copyright The Family Library
Image caption Erika Roberston said the charity provided a "vital and magical place for learning"

The charity's spokeswoman said the family, which funded the charity in 2016/17 after "no other major donor was forthcoming", had offered to make a further three-year "matched-funding commitment".

Librarian Mary Cousins said their offer had given the charity "fresh incentive" to gather the money they need.

"We are still £70,000 short but it can be done," she said.

"Simply, if we don't raise the funds, we close and all services cease to exist".

Fellow librarian Sandra Henderson said the charity's offer "goes way beyond books".

"Our library is the primary form of social contact for many elderly customers and those who find it difficult to travel," she said.

"Some borrowers say we are a lifeline."

Erika Roberston, whose family regularly use the charity's services, described it as a "vital and magical place for learning for children".

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