MORAY’S FIRST COMMUNITY library has closed after just over 18 months because no suitable permanent home could be found.
The Hopeman Community Library opened in the wake of Moray Council’s decision to close several local libraries two years ago.
From the outset, however, the community project faced difficulties in finding a home that would allow it to function as a fully-operational library.
Hopes of taking over the former library site at Hopeman Primary School were firmly turned away by Moray Council, while plans to take over the former library building in Forsyth Street were also dashed when it was sold to private ownership by the local authority.
While the Library did manage to open in November 2013 sharing a small corner of the Hopeman Memorial Hall, as it grew in popularity with 143 members sharing the space became impractical, with the community library chair, Vivien Hendry, saying that there was no facility for setting up computing services and internet access – vital for any modern library to thrive.
Ms Hendry fought hard to save library closures in Moray and was behind the proposed legal action being taken by community members against the closures. That resulted in three of the seven libraries being saved – but, alas, not her own local branch in Hopeman.
Ms Hendry said: “I am incredibly sad that Hopeman Community Library has not worked out.
“As a committee we gave 100% to try and make a lasting success of the project, investing innumerable volunteer hours. We also had support from so many places, especially the authors (Lari Don and Howie Firth) and Publishing Scotland.
“However, the lack of a suitable venue for the library proved an insurmountable problem.
“The committee is pleased that the children’s books have found new homes, where local young people will still be able to benefit from them
“I hope that the ‘Big Book Sale’ and Coffee Morning we are holding will prove a great success and allow us to support local groups and charities to further their work.”
Funding raised for the library including a council grant for such as book covers was never received while funds allocated by the Hopeman Community Association to cover use of the Memorial Hall will be returned to the community.
Children’s books that had been donated to the library will be given to the Hopeman Primary School while other selected books will be donated to Lossiemouth High School.
Remaining books will be offered for sale from 10am until 12noon on Saturday, July 11 at the Big Book Sale and Coffee Morning in the Hopeman Memorial Hall. Funding raised along with remaining financial assets of the community library will be donated to groups and charities serving the local community.