A community project to take control of a village library is gathering pace.
An ambitious plan to build a new £250,000 facility in Denby Dale has gathered widespread support.
And now public meetings have confirmed the support is there to help with the day to day operations of the village library.
Volunteers hope to build on the site of the current Wakefield Road library after it became clear that Kirklees Council was unlikely to be able to fund it past March next year.
Like all the 26 libraries in Kirklees, Denby Dale’s is under review and has funding secured only until March 31 next year.
Villagers were told about the progress that’s been made over the last four months by the Denby Dale Community Project, (DDCP), who are a group of local volunteer residents.
Kirklees has agreed to pass over the existing library building and land to an established community organisation.
The DDCP has applied to be a Charitable Trust and aims to take over then demolish the existing, dilapidated single-storey building and to construct on the same site next year a new, two-storey community building.
The new building will better serve the local community, in particular with two existing local charities, The Denby Dale Centre and Kirkwood Hospice, becoming anchor tenants.
The DDCP aims to work in partnership with Kirklees to maintain a professionally-managed library at the core of the community building.
Biddy Fisher, one the Trustees of the DDCP, who is also a local resident and was President of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, said: “Across the country there are a vast number of volunteer assisted libraries emerging, but the way we are going about saving our library service in Denby Dale may prove to be a winning model throughout Kirklees.
“Working with the senior staff of Kirklees library service to secure the best way forward has been a really positive aspect of the Denby Dale Community Project.”
The DDCP has a lot more work to do over the next year, in particular to bridge the financing gap to construct the new building.
Some of the finances are already in place as the council’s Denby Dale Area Committee met and as part of their agenda, agreed to grant £40,000 to the community project.
Kirklees Council and Denby Dale Parish Council have between them, also promised another £40,000 towards the cost of constructing the new community building.
Denby Dale Tory Clr Jim Dodds, one of the architects of the plan, said: “The 12 members of our working party have worked extremely hard over the summer months and have a breadth of talent that has ensured such rapid progress and they must be congratulated on their commitment to the project.
“We still have a long way to go, but when complete this facility will not only ensure the future of the Denby Dale Library in partnership with Kirklees Council, but also give the village a facility that will be the envy of the rest of the UK.”