Readers who still have books on loan from Whitchurch Library can return their items at a pop-up stall in the town’s market hall on Friday mornings.
Staff from the library will be on hand from 9am until midday on Fridays to take back books from people who have been affected by the branch’s emergency closure due to structural issues at its base in Whitchurch Civic Centre.
Robert Macey, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for culture and digital, said:
“I am pleased that we have found a short-term solution for people who want to return items to the library. I know our library staff are disappointed and frustrated that they cannot provide the full service to customers, but they too are glad to have the stall where they can catch up with some regular friendly faces and take books back in.
“The closure of the Civic Centre and the effect it had had on our library is frustrating for everyone in the community, but safety has to be at the forefront of any decisions we make. We are bound by the survey findings, and no-one can or should be blamed for the temporary loss of the library service in town.
“Shropshire Council has already committed to retaining the library and registrars office in Whitchurch, and is now looking to urgently relocate these services to a new location in the town centre. This is a complex process and must take into account planning regulations, property services and accessibility among other matters.
“We are working hard to move the situation on, and are keen to restore our services in the town. Our libraries are important community hubs and we know how important they are.”
Local Shropshire Councillors Peggy Mullock, Tom Biggins and Gerald Dakin also welcomed the opening of the market stall:
“We are disappointed the library has had to close temporarily, but by opening the stall for book returns we are are pleased to have re-established contact with the service users and friendly faces that make the most of our facilities.
“Local people can rest assured that work is going on to identify a new building for the library; we will be monitoring progress and are as keen as anyone in town to find a swift resolution to the problem.”
Ronni Stirton, Whitchurch Library manager, added:
“We are pleased we have been able to reorganise our regular Rhyme Time, digital support and Books Aloud sessions thanks to Whitchurch CE Infant and Nursery Academy, Whitchurch Heritage Centre and St Alkmund’s Church. St John’s Methodist Church is also hosting one of our regular reading groups and the community has rallied around to help.”