THE future of Kinver’s library services are now in the hands of the people of the village following the official ‘opening’ of Kinver Community Library.

Although the building and its maintenance will remain the responsibility of Staffordshire County Council, the historic library in Vicarage Drive is now managed and staffed by fully trained local volunteers.

The move comes after Staffordshire County Council decided to delegate responsibility for a number of libraries throughout the county to the public, leading to a group known as Kinver Community Library Limited (KCLL) formed to take care of day-to-day operations.

Kinver’s Tory MP Gavin Williamson was on hand to mark the handover of the library, which staff hope will also become a community hub, by including a café and a wide range of interest groups and activities for people of all ages.

But instead of opening the venue by cutting a ceremonial ribbon as is the norm, the Government’s chief whip was presented with an actual whip before ‘thrashing’ the library’s desk, quipping: “As I do this, I’ll think of a number of Conservative members of parliament!”

The South Staffordshire MP added: “When everyone heard about the changes the county council were making to library services and their provision, a lot of people were worried as to how that would impact something so important to people in the community.

“We all have incredibly fond memories of libraries, especially as young tots, and these memories show how vitally important libraries are to everyone.

“One of the great challenges libraries have is to keep people of all ages coming in, but I am so impressed hearing all the plans that the group has.

“I want to say a big thank you to all of the hard work of the volunteers who have made this library a reality, and I wish them all the best of luck and hope it can go from strength to strength.”

KCLL have been backed in their plans by funding from a number of sources including Kinver Parish Council, Kinver Country Fayre, Kinver Rotary Club, The Wylde Trust, The Wrigley Trust and the Staffordshire Community Fund.

Kinver resident and TV presenter Nick Owen, who was also present at the opening ceremony, is urging people to make use of the community venue.

He told the News: “This means so much to the people of the village and it’s just another sign that Kinver wants to remain a strong community that really is united, especially at a time when so many things are under threat and many villages are losing facilities.

“But Kinver is a wonderful place that has so many good facilities and the library is one of them. Losing it would have been so sad, so it’s fantastic that in these hard times, volunteers have got together to make this hub and these wonderful services continue.

“It is vital that people know what’s going on here and I do hope that people take advantage of the services the new library will provide, do come here, and realise what a great place it is.”