Killyleagh library is given a vital lifeline

Killyleagh library is given a vital lifeline

2 November 2011

KILLYLEAGH Library has been granted a reprieve.

Library officials have confirmed the local library will remain open following a nine-month public consultation into its future.

However, the long-term future of the library will depend on the community finding an alternative building for the facility before the end of the financial year.

Campaigners, who fought to secure the library through a high profile campaign, have been warned they need to secure a new location for the library before the end of March.

Library supporters, who formed Friends of Killyleagh Library (FOLK) as part of their lobbying campaign, are in behind-the-scenes discussions with a local businessman about moving the library to new premises in the town. They are confident a deal can be struck to guarantee local library provision into 2012.

Mr. Clive Scoular, chairman of FOLK, said he is delighted with news of the reprieve, which he described as a "lifeline" for the local library service.

He said he was confident the people of Killyleagh would now secure the new building, ensuring a future service for the town.

"This is good news for Killyleagh," he said.

"It gives us the chance to have a library in the centre of the village to become the hub of Killyleagh. It is up to the people of Killyleagh to secure the new building and to enhance its use. If we don't use it we will lose it.

"We have been thrown a lifeline and we must take it."

Mr. Scoular said news of the reprieve had delighted campaigners, who nonetheless realised their work was not yet done.

"This is our clear opportunity," he said. "We have all worked incredibly hard to reach this stage where we have saved the library, now we must move forward with a real purpose.

"We nearly lost this vital community facility, we must now show Libraries NI that we are up to the challenge"

Announcing the decision about Killyleagh Library and the other libraries that were subject to review, Mr. Nigel Macartney, interim chairman of Libraries NI, said the review had been necessary due to the "times of austerity."

"The level of feedback received through the public consultation process was significant and the Board has listened and responded by agreeing to work with local groups and communities," he said.

"It is important that this opportunity is embraced and customers continue to work with Libraries NI to continue to promote and improve library use."