County Council welcomes community association set to take over Horndean Library

The reopening of Horndean Library as an independent community library is one step closer as detailed discussions get underway between Hampshire County Council and the Horndean Community Association, which is set to take over the library from the Hampshire Library Service this year

Jan 13 2021

Hampshire County Council Executive Member for Recreation, Heritage, Countryside and Rural Affairs, Councillor Edward Heron, said: “I am very pleased that Horndean Community Association has responded to the County Council’s call for volunteers to take over the running of their local library. With their support and passion, Horndean Library 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 Horndean Community Association the greatest success as their 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 Horndean Library, and reducing opening hours of all remaining 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.

A Horndean Community Association spokesperson said: "We are pleased to be able to continue to offer this service to Horndean, and are excited that it will become an integral part of what Horndean Community Association currently offers from its community centre, Merchistoun Hall, making it a true community hub.”

Hampshire County Council will provide the following support to the newly established independent 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 £10,000 grant award to Horndean Community Association, approved by Councillor Heron at his 12 January Decision Day
  • Advice from County Council officers for up to one year to support the transition of library functions and property handover.  

Horndean Library is now closed to allow time for Horndean Community Association to set up the independent community library at Merchistoun Hall. Residents can still return borrowed items using the book return box that will be set up outside the current library building on Fiveheads Road until 13 February 2021. 

Horndean Community Association is planning to open the independent community library in the spring. 

For further updates about the independent community library and information about volunteering, visit www.merchistounhall.btck.co.uk

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