Richmond Library celebrates first anniversary of relaunch as community hub

From left are: County Councillor and Mayor of Richmond Stuart Parsons; County and District Councillor Helen Grant; Councillor Angie Dale, Chairman of Richmondshire District Council; Councillor Helen Swiers; and Philip Wicks with library volunteers and council officers. Also at the event was Cllr Linda Curran, Richmondshire District Councillor and Chairman of Richmondshire Dementia Action Alliance.

Richmond Community Library has celebrated the anniversary of a major refurbishment that has allowed it to expand its services and its ambitions in partnership with Catterick, Richmond and Colburn Community Libraries (CRACCL).

A year ago, the library closed for five weeks for a refurbishment to turn it into a community hub and on Wednesday CRACCL volunteers were joined by guests at the library to mark the anniversary.

The library, which is close to the centre of town on Queen’s Road, offers facilities that benefit the community and the many tourists that visit the town.

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It now features a point of contact for the Richmond Information Centre and a larger children’s library with a buggy park as well as relaxing seating, with tea and coffee-making facilities and free wi-fi access.

New mobile shelving allows more space and greater opportunity to host a wider range of activities and workshops.

This was demonstrated when the library was transformed into a Fun Palace for a day in October last year, housing ukulele workshops, Lego building and a history handling session by the Green Howards Museum all at the same time.

North Yorkshire County Council invested £57,000 supplemented by a £15,000 grant from the County Council’s Stronger Communities programme to CRACCL for repainting the interior, laying new carpet and installing brighter, more energy-efficient lighting throughout the building.

Philip Wicks, chair of CRACCL, said: “During the last year, 80 people have delivered more than 7,000 hours of volunteering in our three libraries. The partnership with the County Council has ensured that these vital community hubs remain open for the foreseeable future. The refurbishment of Richmond Community Library demonstrates our long-term commitment to maintaining a 21st century library service for the benefit of the whole community.”

County Councillor Greg White, executive member for libraries, said: “The refurbishment of Richmond Library has created a library fit for the needs of the community now and in the future. The additional space has created fantastic opportunities for library users and community groups to get more from their library. Libraries are a vital to communities and I am delighted that the County Council has invested for the long-term future of the service. Libraries are about so much more than books, they are community hubs that provide access to a vast range of resources and information.”

County Councillor Stuart Parsons, member for Richmond and also Mayor of Richmond, said: “We owe a massive debt to the huge number of volunteers who have come forward to help to run not only the library but also the Richmond Information Centre.

“I am delighted to celebrate the facilities that enable them to do the best possible job and to help them realise their ambitions for the hub.”