AN MBE for a Little Chalfont library volunteer came a week after the rest of the team were awarded the business equivalent.

Jim Brooks has been awarded the gong for services to the library – but a week before that the entire team that has dedicated the last four and a half years ensuring its survival were given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Such has been the group’s success, groups from across the country have been looking at the 60 volunteers for inspiration to save other libraries at risk from the axe.

Mr Brooks, of Chessfield Park, said the two awards were “a great acknowledgment of the work of the entire group”.

The 62-year-old said: “For four and a half years we’ve put in a huge amount of effort. The work has paid off, the library is incredibly successful. Numbers are up, issues of stock are up. We get a lot of support from the local community.

“In 2006 Bucks County Council announced the closure of eight libraries and we had to fight them to be allowed to take it on. We put in a business plan to show we can run it.

“We are working with a whole range of communities, not just in Bucks, but all over the country. We’ve helped over 50 communities, from Leeds to Brent to Yeovil.

“They are contacting us to find out how it’s done. They are looking at us as an example.”

Mr Brooks, who is also secretary of the Little Chalfont Community Association as well as the chairman of the Friends of the Library group, said the letter informing him of his nomination came “out of the blue”.

He said: “It came as a bit of a surprise, to put it mildly. They send you a letter swearing you to secrecy as it could jeopardise the award.”

He added: “It’s very heartwarming. I was nominated by local people who appreciate what me and the library have been doing for the last four and half years. It’s nice to get that acknowledgement.”