AROUND 100 people have joined an action group in a bid to secure the future of Great Missenden library.

It is one of 14 libraries around Buckinghamshire the county council wants to hand over control of to community groups as the authority looks to save £700,000.

But worried residents fear the library – which was the inspiration for children's author Roald Dahl's novel 'Matilda' – could close if nobody is found to run it.

Chiltern District Council's Andrew Garnett, who helped set up the new Friends of Great Missenden Library group, said he hoped it could still be run as a professional set-up.

Cllr Garnett said around 100 people had joined the Friends group, with many attending a showdown talk with county councillors in the village last week.

He said: “It certain shows there's a groundswell of support for the library. It shows it's a valued resource in the community and we need to persuade the County it needs to be professionally staffed. That's going to be the difficult issue to deal with.”

Cllr Garnett said he had spoken to someone involved with the community-run library in Chalfont St Giles in case Great Missenden library ends up being run by volunteers.

But he said: “It's early days – we are trying to preserve it as a professionally-operated library. That's our prime focus.

“It may be helpful further down the line [talking to other community groups] but it would be premature to investigate it further.”

The county council is currently holding a consultation over the future of 14 libraries, including the one in Great Missenden.

The consultation was discussed by members of Amersham Town Council on Monday night after the county asked for their views.

Cllr Davida Allen said at Monday's meeting: “Anything like that is going to be terribly dependent on a dedicated core of people.

“People need libraries more than ever. Libraries represent communities.

“To be supportive of other areas under threat, it's right and proper we say it's regrettable and appreciate the enormous dedication and time involved in such an enterprise.”