TV's Johnny Ball marks a 'first' at his local library
PUBLISHED: 01:34 24 October 2011 | UPDATED: 21:39 20 February 2013
Johnny Ball today (Saturday October 22) declared Farnham Common Library open as a community-run venture.
With a deft snip of the scissors and the characteristic smile, veteran television personality and maths wizz Johnny Ball today (Saturday October 22) declared Farnham Common Library open as a community-run resource.
It is the first Buckinghamshire library to become community-run since the County Council Cabinet Member's decision in April 2010 to create 14 library partnerships across the county, to make budget savings.
It was on Tuesday October 4 that Farnham Common Community Library (FCCL) Management Committee and local volunteers began working as partners with Buckinghamshire County Council, to take over running the library, having presented a business plan, rallied support from residents, and recruited volunteers.
But today (Saturday) was a family time for celebration and a large crowd of residents and children enjoyed a childrens fancy dress competition, storytelling, a book and DVD sale, bag-a-bottle stall, homemade cake stall, plant stall, a magician, a raffle, tombola, and refreshments.
Johnny, a Farnham Common resident, author and avid reader, said: 'I'm sure that every library facing this kind of challenge can be saved by thje locals who are using it. I'm sure that this way the council will continue to do all it can to support it.'
Buckinghamshire County Council Leader Martin Tett, who presented the library keys to FCCL Management Committee Chairman Michael Mills, said: 'I've been really impressed with the energy and commitment of the committee and volunteers to make this transition to a community-run library - a real Big Society effort. Our commitment is to continue partnering with them to make this venture a success, and a great model for other communities.'
Michael Mills said: 'This is our chance to shape the library to meet the needs of the community and to make a difference for the future. We've had hundreds of local residents signed up as Friends, volunteers, fundraisers and supporters, and we're very grateful for the support of the County Council in helping us to get started.'
The FCCL Management Committee, voted in at a public meeting in June, has put together a plan to ensure that the library will become a vibrant and important focal point for the community. Plans include expanding the book selection, improving opening hours and putting on events and activities to bring the community together. The committee has already forged links with local schools and aims to build on this to provide an important service for people of all ages in the community.
Martin Phillips, who as Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, set five-year partnership agreements with new community libraries, said: 'The residents of Farnham Common are passionate about their library and we're excited to be working with them as they develop this great community resource.'
Key to the door: Martin Tett presents the Library door key to Michael Mills and Johnny Ball
Storytime: 'Mary Poppins' story teller Jean Purdy with young listener Sienna Williams
Ribbon cutting: Johnny Ball with Martin Tett, Martin Phillips and Dominic Grieve MP
Johnny Ball: The first time I've had a plaque with my name on