LIBRARIANS from across Russia visited Great Missenden to see a working community library in action.

The delegation of 10 are winners of a Russian national Libraries in Education competition, run by the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation to support innovation and professional development for librarians.

Delegation leader Alexandra Smirnova, Arts Projects and Partnerships manager for the British Council in Russia, said they were particularly interested in Buckinghamshire's community libraries.

Despite many small and remote locations across a vast geographical spread, she said, there were no community libraries in Russia.

"We have many remote libraries, and we wanted to see how Buckinghamshire, which is a leader in community libraries, had managed the project," said Alexandra. "Great Missenden community library as a model is quite astonishing and doesn't exist in Russia at all."

They met Great Missenden Community Library volunteers Gill and John Dickinson, and were given a guided tour by manager Penny Pettitt.

David Jones, Buckinghamshire County Council's Library Services Delivery Manager, who hosted the delegation, was delighted the delegation had chosen Buckinghamshire.

David said: "Great Missenden is an excellent example of a flexible partnership. What we've shown the delegation is how this model has enabled us to retain local library services at a lower cost and in a sustainable way."

Margaret Aston, Deputy Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, said: "We have 16 successful community libraries across the county. It's taken a lot of hard work by everyone over many years, enabling each library to be shaped to local needs, and I'm delighted we're able to share this experience internationally."

The British Council helped put together the programme for the delegation's visit to showcase and share the best of the UK's experience in the library sector.