County Council welcomes charity set to take over Fair Oak Library

The reopening of Fair Oak Library as an independent community library is one step closer as detailed discussions get underway between Hampshire County Council and the charity organisation that is set to take over the library from the Hampshire Library Service this year

Jan 11 2021

Hampshire County Council Executive Member for Recreation, Heritage, Countryside and Rural Affairs, Councillor Edward Heron, said: “I am very pleased that the Fair Oak community has responded to the County Council’s call for volunteers to take over the running of their local library. With their support and passion, it will be able to transition from a Council-run library to an independent community library, and continue providing a valued service to the local community. I wish Fair Oak Community Library the greatest success as these plans move forward.”

On 28 July 2020, Hampshire County Council approved proposals to transform the Library Service to achieve savings of £1.76 million, towards the Local Authority’s overall budget shortfall and adapt the service to better meet customers’ changing needs. The decision was made following an extensive public consultation that received more than 21,000 responses, and included the County Council closing eight of its libraries, including Fair Oak, and reducing opening hours of all remaining County Council-run libraries by 20%. At the same time, an offer of financial and professional support was made to any community group wishing to take on the running of the eight libraries to help them transition into independent community libraries. 

Fair Oak Community Library Trustee and Local Parish Councillor, Councillor Nick Couldrey, said: “Thanks to the support of a substantial number of volunteers, we are well placed to open the Fair Oak Community Library as soon as we can gain access to the building. We look forward to welcoming residents into this new community space.”

Hampshire County Council will provide the following support to Fair Oak Community Library: 

  • Access to the Library Service Group Membership Scheme to refresh their physical stock and reserve specific titles from the Hampshire Library Collection, including Ready Reads if collected on behalf of a Hampshire Library customer
  • A Grant award of up to £10,000 from the Recreation and Heritage Community Fund 
  • Advice from County Council officers for up to one year to support the transition of library functions and property handover. 

The Council-run Fair Oak Library is now closed. Residents can still return items borrowed from the library using the book return box that will be set up outside the building until 13 February 2021.

Fair Oak Community Library is expected to open in the spring.

For further updates, follow Fair Oak Community Library on Facebook.

Details for the Hampshire Library Service, including its digital library which has thousands of eBooks, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines to choose from, can be found at www.hants.gov.uk/librariesandarchives/library