ROALD Dahl could help save Great Missenden library from a future reliant on volunteers, or even closure, villagers believe.

Great Missenden Village Association has called on Buckinghamshire County Council to abandon its plans to turn Great Missenden library into a volunteer run service.

Instead it wants to use the world-famous author's name to boost revenues and keep hold of its paid staff.

Plans to place 14 libraries into the hands of the community to save nearly £700,000 could mean axing 21 full time posts. (see related articles below).

The idea has been put to residents in a public consultation – which ended this week.

Bosses concede some libraries could close if the volunteer-run service proposal is 'unsuccessful'.

World-famous author Roald Dahl lived in Great Missenden until his death in 1990 and the library, in High Street, inspired his novel 'Matilda'.

Seb Berry, Chairman of Great Missenden Village Association, said its 250 members were fully against the plan and want to see a 'professionally staffed' library remain.

He said: “There is huge potential for additional revenue at what is "Roald Dahl's" internationally famous library at the very heart of the Chilterns AONB and our submission to the consultation reflects that."

Council bosses identified nine larger libraries used by 74 per cent of library users which would form a 'core county service'.

Each has over 100,00 visitors. The remainder were selected as volunteer run 'community partnerships'.

Mr Berry said this did not take account of key factors such as 'potential for growth'.

He argued Great Missenden is “one of BCC's most efficient libraries in terms of staff costs and visitor numbers” and hopes BCC will recognise this.

Cllr Patricia Birchley, Cabinet Member for Adults and Family Wellbeing said no decisions have been made and discussions with each community were “just a starting point”.

She added, while BCC knows how “highly valued” the libraries are, they need to be “sustainable”.

Cllr Birchley welcomed the “passionate response” and said she would be taking “a personal interest” in discussions with Great Missenden.

A BCC statement said while its aim is to keep all 26 libraries going “If this is unsuccessful we may have to consider closures.”

It hopes staff can be redeployed within the library service, if posts go, and compulsory redundancies would be “the last resort”.

Analysis of the consultation will be presented to senior officers and councillors during March. A final decision on whether to go forward with the proposed model will be made in early April.

An 18 month phased period of implementation would be expected.