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MP praises Stokenchurch villagers as they keep open their library
MP DAVID Lidington praised the villagers of Stokenchurch as he officially launched the new community run library.
On Saturday Mr Lidington cut the ribbon at the library which will now be run by volunteers instead of Buckinghamshire County Council.
Last year the county announced it could not afford to keep running all the libraries in Bucks and appealed for the communities to run their own.
Stokenchurch stepped up to the challenge and had been running for 10 days when the vice chairman of BCC, Carl Etholen, handed the keys over to chairman of the managing committee, Ann Sherman on Saturday.
In this week's weekly MP column on the Bucks Free Press website, Letters to Westminster, Mr Lidington praised the opening of the community library. (Click here to read the full column).
He said it works because Stokenchurch is big enough to be have people with a range of expertise and said the village has always had a strong local tradition of voluntary effort.
He also said Bucks County Council made sure they worked with local people on the detailed arrangements needed to establish a community library- they didn't just make the decision and walk away.
Mr Lidington wrote: "On Saturday, the staff and councillors from Bucks CC were as delighted as Stokenchurch residents at the success of this project.
"I think there is an important lesson here. Too often central government, and even local authorities, have not been good at working in partnership with small, local charities and voluntary groups.
"Government departments and agencies, town and county halls usually think and work on a large scale. Big national charities, with plenty of management capacity of their own, are used to dealing with official forms and bureaucratic processes; local groups can find the challenge daunting.
"The lesson of Stokenchurch is that when a major authority is prepared to think and work on a neighbourhood level, the benefits to the community can be enormous."
Mike Chadwick, who is on the management committee, said Saturday was a success as more library users joined and more volunteers expressed an interest.
He said: "It has marked a mile stone. We had already been operating for ten days effectively on our own. "But it officially marked the opening."
They are still on the look out for more volunteers in order to take forward their plans to increase the opening hours.
If you are interested in volunteering pick up an application form at the library.
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