Library Friends group needs new leadership to survive

This story was published 6 September 2017

The Friends of Scarborough Library will disband at the end of the year unless someone steps up to take charge.

interior of library

The volunteer group has supported the town’s library through fundraising and events since 2000.

In its 17 years, the Friends group has raised thousands of pounds to support the North Yorkshire County Council library and has hosted regular meetings and events there. From small beginnings, it grew to a membership of 200 people.

But now stalwart and long-time organiser Colin Langford is being forced to stand down because of poor health. Other committee members have also stood down or moved away, so without new blood to take over the group will end.

“The Friends have been successful and popular over the years, so it will be a shame to see it wind down,” said Colin. “It’s a good social group, with monthly meetings and other events, but the main objective is to support the library. That is particularly important at the moment given the financial pressures.

“I would be happy to meet anyone who might be interested in taking over to discuss what is involved. We have a programme that runs to the end of the year, but we would need someone to come forward soon to pick up the programme for next year.”

Over the years, the Friends have also been involved in major projects.

Colin said: “A few years ago we had the Bechstein grand piano in the library’s concert room restored at a cost of £8,000, which we raised from donations and funds from Scarborough Borough Council.”

The piano is used in the weekly lunchtime concerts, and the quality of the piano is good enough to attract internationally renowned pianists. On 24 November, Eyran Katsenelenbogen will perform with Tal Zilber at the library at 12.30pm.

The group also supported the restoration of Edward Bawden’s 1931 map of Scarborough, which was donated to the library and restored by the County Record Office, and it has supported numerous other improvements, including new carpet for the children’s section. It has run activities such as fundraising book sales, quizzes and a book club and has a music group that performs regularly.

County Councillor Greg White, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “The Friends have been fantastic supporters of Scarborough library over the past 17 years. I congratulate them on all they have done for the library and for the valuable social events they have organised. They have had an invaluable role in advocating on behalf of libraries and helped raise awareness of their value, even helping to set up other library Friends groups across the country.

“It would be wonderful if someone came forward to take on the mantle, but regardless of that the current and past committee members, some of whom have been on-board from the start, deserve a huge amount of credit and thanks for the work they have done. North Yorkshire Libraries and particularly the team at Scarborough wish them the very best in the future.”

Friends meetings are on the first Saturday of the month from 11am to noon and between now and the end of the year include talks on a visit to India and butterflies of Yorkshire and a Christmas concert. Full details can be found at the library. Anyone who is not a member of the Friends can attend for £1.

Anyone interested in helping to keep the Friends of Scarborough Library going can call at the library, email scarborough.library@northyorks.gov.uk or call 01609 536602 for further information.